Scalise not budging on opposition to gun control

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) refused to budge on his opposition to expanding...
Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) refused to budge on his opposition to expanding gun-control measures during a nationally televised interview on Fox News Sunday (June 5).(Source: WVUE)
Published: Jun. 5, 2022 at 11:58 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) refused to budge on his opposition to expanding gun-control measures during a nationally televised interview on Fox News Sunday (June 5).

Scalise is the Republican Whip, his party’s second highest-ranking member in the House of Representatives, and largely deflected questions from host John Roberts about Democrats’ push for more stringent measures. Roberts asked Scalise whether Republicans were out of step with the majority of the country, citing a poll showing 89 percent support for tougher background checks in the wake of recent mass shootings at a Buffalo grocery store and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

“When you have a shooting, instead of (asking), ‘What is really causing this? Why are we seeing these happening more and more in the last few years,’ it immediately becomes a debate about taking away guns,” Scalise said. “It immediately pushes everybody in a corner, instead of saying, ‘Why don’t we look and see if we can find some telltale signs so that there can be intervention?’

“We need to be focused more on stopping things before they happen. This isn’t something we’re having a conversation about right now, and we should be. It immediately becomes about Democrats wanting to take away guns. The Second Amendment is not some guideline. It’s part of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and it’s there for a reason. Every day in America, people use guns to defend themselves.”

Scalise did not propose a new plan to fund or enhance mental health treatment and surveillance around the country. He spoke vaguely about needing to see enhanced efforts to take preventive action before mass shootings, which he likened to stricter airport security rules imposed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“In a lot of these school shootings, there is somebody in that school that knew the shooter was going to take action before the shooting,” Scalise said. “After Sept. 11, we got really good about focusing on stopping something before it happens. If you’re in an airport today, and you see a bag sitting idle, it’s not going to be there five minutes before somebody alerts authorities. We need to be helping get kids more engaged in alerting authorities if they see something they’re concerned about, and let the authorities take action if it’s necessary. Try to intervene and stop something before it happens, instead of just immediately rushing to go take the rights of gun owners away.”

Scalise suggested government leaders and local officials needed to “offer our prayers to the victims and then let’s go search for the root of the problem.” He said the two major parties could find “common ground” regarding the “hardening” of schools, but did not offer specifics of what that might entail.

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According to a 2018 estimate, the American population of about 330 million people owned more than 393.3 million weapons, and that was four years ago. Scalise, who himself was critically wounded in a 2017 mass shooting on a Virginia baseball field, explained the prevalence of guns in the United States in part as the response of citizens increasingly concerned about personal safety in the wake of progressives’ criminal justice reform efforts.

“The last couple of years, you’ve seen this crazy ‘Defund the Police’ movement. But you’ve also seen a movement that’s been going on for a few years in big cities where the DAs aren’t even prosecuting criminals until it is a shooting or a violent crime,” Scalise said. “They’re letting criminals back out on the streets. And, inevitably, what you see is higher rates of crime.

“What you’re also seeing is more and more law-abiding American citizens buying guns to defend themselves. Because if they can’t have faith that their local police department that’s been defunded can arrive quickly or if the DA is going to let the criminal out, they are their only line of defense. Crime is out of control in a lot of big cities ... with the ‘Defund the Police’ movement, with letting people out, no cash bail, where they’re making it easier for people to commit crimes.

“Look at the smash-and-grab crimes. Do you think it’s going to end there, if they think they can get away with a crime, or they’re not going to be charged? They will go on to commit more crimes and worse crimes. Let’s get back to regular policing.”

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