House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said Thursday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” that “it’s disgraceful” when lawmakers immediately begin calling for gun control legislation and “taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens” following mass shootings.
Scalise, of course, was shot in the hip during a GOP congressional baseball practice last June 14 by liberal gunman James Hodgkinson. Two armed Capitol Police officers who were at the scene returned fire — and protected the lawmakers.
On Thursday night, the congressman spoke with host Laura Ingraham just one day after a gunman tragically killed 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, 19, who is in custody, was charged earlier on Thursday with 17 counts of premeditated murder. And it didn’t take long for Democratic lawmakers to begin calling for further gun control legislation.
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“It’s disgraceful. Anytime there’s any kind of tragedy — I mean a shooting, a bombing, whatever — immediately you’ve got a group of legislators that go run out, start calling for gun control and taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Scalise said. “And again, look at their bills, read their bills. They have nothing to do with these kinds of shootings.”
He said there isn’t “some kind of magic unicorn law” that is going to prevent every future single mass shooting from occurring, no matter how hard Democrats may push for it.
“So this idea that one magic law is going to stop the next one from happening — it’s not,” Scalise said. “What you do see in common is, number one, you see a lot of mental illness in common, but you also see gun-free zones. Shooters know that if you go to a gun-free zone, you’re the only one with a gun that nobody else has.”
Fortunately in his situation, Scalise noted that the law enforcement agents who accompanied him to the baseball practice were armed and able to counter the gunman.
“And ultimately that’s what took him down. It was other people with guns that took down the shooter,” the congressman said to Ingraham. “And if there weren’t other people with guns to stop the shooter, there would have been 15 members of Congress executed that day. And there weren’t, luckily, by the grace of God, first of all. There were true miracles that happened on that field.”
After the Florida shooting this week, many Democratic lawmakers and liberal media members criticized Republicans for offering their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families, saying those sentiments weren’t enough.
“The prayers helped me tremendously. And unfortunately, there’s some on the Left that actually mock praying for people. They say, ‘Oh, do gun control,'” Scalise said. “I needed those prayers. Those prayers helped me and my family at a really difficult time. And you could feel them.”
Saying that “the power of prayer was real” and helped remind him of “the goodness of people,” Scalise urged Americans both to pray for the latest mass shooting’s victims and their families — and to take action.
“These families need prayer. They need counseling. They need help. But let’s go find out the root of these problems,” he said. “And we’re already seeing there were so many things that slipped through the cracks.”
Many students told news outlets that Cruz was a social pariah who had been expelled from the high school for disciplinary reasons, noting he had made other students uncomfortable with violent and sexually suggestive comments.
“The tell-tale signs were there. I mean, when every kid in the school says, ‘Geez, I mean this kid was the one that we knew would be the shooter,’ why didn’t anybody else know about that?” Scalise said. “I mean, these are the problems we need to address.”
“Go pray for the families. Care about these families. Don’t try to promote your agenda.”
“Every day in America there are people that use guns to stop crimes, to defend their own families. That’s what our Founding Fathers wrote about, by the way. They believed in an innate right of people to have guns for self-defense,” Scalise said before ripping Democrats for their immediate response. “And these people that want to take away your rights guised under all these tragedies — go pray for the families. Care about these families. Don’t try to promote your agenda in the middle of a tragedy.”