Hours after the tragic shooting Wednesday that left Rep. Steve Scalise in critical condition, Republican colleagues were outraged over Democrats who were quick to put the blame on lack of gun control measures.
Freshman Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., summed up what many were feeling in the House: "The recent lack of civility, plus hateful discourse, needs to be stopped."
Republicans were responding to calls by Democrats for stricter gun control measures that came after the news Scalise, R-La., and three others were hospitalized following a shooting as lawmakers were in Alexandria, Va., practicing for the congressional baseball game.
Asked at a news conference about what could be done to protect politicians, Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat replied: "Let me say this: I think we need to do more to protect all of our citizens. I have long advocated — this is not what today is about — but there are too many guns on the street. We lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence." (According to CNN, McAuliffe later clarified that he intended to say 93 Americans a day, not 93 million.)
“I was confronted with questions about stricter gun control laws immediately,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., told Newsmax, “and I said that when the Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment to protect the right to keep and bear arms was meant to have just as much authority as the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech and press.”
Brooks, who was at the baseball practice when the shooting occurred, emphasized that “we shouldn’t be talking about that or anything but the recovery of Steve and the others. That’s what’s important.”
Rep. Bacon agreed. Noting that “within hours of today’s incident, prominent Democrats were already calling for gun control,” the Omaha lawmaker and retired U.S. Air Force general said, “This is the left’s politically motivated reflexive response. What part of the Second Amendment do they not understand?”
“I served in the Air Force for nearly 30 years defending the Constitution. The shooter is guilty of attempted murder, and we shouldn’t look for scapegoat issues. I believe that the recent lack of civility, plus hateful discourse, needs to be stopped. Debate on issues is great, but the hate displayed in recent months is pulling us apart, and we need to dial down the volume.”
Referring to the gun-control advocates, Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., told Newsmax, “These people should spend their energy focusing on uniting as a nation. We need to commend the heroism of our Capitol Police officers and pray for the victims and their families. We need to reject efforts to exploit tragedies and shattered lives for a political agenda, especially when the agenda contains such bad ideas.”
“This is not complicated,” Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., said, “Bad guys get guns on the black market. Good guys need guns to protect themselves. Haven’t we learned that lesson yet? The only lasting solution is to work on heart issues. Yes, we have sharp differences, but we need to show respect and have a civil discourse between each other.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also took a stand on the issue. “I don’t really want to get into gun control or any other issue right now,” he said. “I just want to see Steve recover and come back to us.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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