On June 14, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was brutally gunned down during a baseball practice near Washington, D.C. He’s since made remarkable progress on the road to recovery; he only needed to use a walker when he threw out the first pitch Friday at a game between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs.
But as someone targeted by a gunman, Scalise was grilled this weekend by combative NBC News host Chuck Todd, who was demanding to know how Scalise could still be supporting our current guns laws and not instead be joining the push for a federal increase in gun control.
Mentioning the recent Las Vegas mass shooting, Todd asked, “Why do you think we lead the world in these things? We lead the world in these mass gun incidents, we lead the world in death by guns, we lead the world in how many guns per person we have in this country?”
“First of all, let’s recognize the fact majority of gun violence and gun killings in this country are committed by people who broke the law to get the gun,” Scalise responded. “But you go to cities like Chicago — some of the toughest gun laws in the country are in the city of Chicago — and yet they have the worst gun violence.”
But Todd pointed out Chicagoans can cross state lines into Indiana to more easily obtain guns, which is why gun control advocates want more federal, nationwide restrictions.
“I do think something that doesn’t get focused on enough is the amount of people across the country who, over the case of a day or week or month, use guns to protect themselves against criminals,” Scalise said.
Then Todd tried to get Scalise to agree that there should be a limit to the type or amount of guns people own. But the congressman pointed out that the Constitution itself doesn’t establish those limits.
“You’re right in the sense that [today] there are already limits on the gun ownership, but frankly let’s go out and enforce those laws. Don’t try to put new laws in place,” Scalise replied, pointing out how many people are getting away with not following the gun laws that we have.
Asked about the legality of bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to somewhat mimic the fast firing action of an automatic machine gun, Scalise made it clear that he believes there shouldn’t be a mad rush to ban them without more research and discussion. He added that the debate is not just about banning bump stocks.
“Look, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi already said she wants it to be a slippery slope. She doesn’t want to stop at bump stocks. They want to go out and limit the rights of gun owners,” Scalise said.
Then Todd asked him about the federal government limiting the number of guns you can purchase in a set amount of time.
Scalise replied, “I think it’s dangerous for the concept that the federal government would have some kind of list of who has guns and what they have because you’ve seen that, by the way, in totalitarian countries where they use that—”
“I understand that line. I get that argument,” Todd interrupted him.
“But it’s really happened,” Scalise interjected.
“Do you think we have too many guns on the street?” the NBC host asked, trying to get the congressman to agree with him on another point.
Scalise shook his head, saying, “The problem is not that there are too many guns. It’s that there are people that will go out and break the law, whether it’s a gun or some other weapon or a bomb.”
Watch the full 8-minute interview below:
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