Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen on Wednesday blamed opposition to gun control on the affinity of local voters for their "guns and the Bible."
In an interview with MSNBC,
Cohen, a Democrat, noted that he'd tweeted a cartoon that appeared to blame the National Rifle Association for the Washington Navy Yard killing spree on Tuesday.
"I got the vitriol on the Twitter from all these people that opposed that cartoon," Cohen said, according to a transcript of the interview on Real Clear Politics.
"They are hard-core Republicans, who this means more to them. I think their guns are right there next to their Bibles. I'm not sure which they find more important to them."
Cohen’s remarks recall those made by President Obama in 2008 at a California fundraiser, where he explained that economic downturns pushed "bitter" Pennsylvania voters to "cling to guns or religion."
An interviewer asked if opposition to disarming private citizens was "a cultural matter that can't really be broken by simple politics."
"Well, it's been that way for a while, and it certainly is in the Republican caucus," Cohen replied.
"And these people are afraid to get primaried, which they would. And you see Lamar Alexander, who's a reasonable Republican, now has a right-wing opponent in his primary in my state. Mitch McConnell has one in Kentucky. Richard Lugar, one of the stars of the Senate, was defeated by a right-winger.
"So it's around and it's difficult and it is guns and the Bible."
Cohen's cartoon tweet drew fire from supporters and detractors, The Daily Caller reported.
@RepCohen as a progressive who believes very strongly in gun control I still have to ask … what the hell were you thinking posting this?
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