Congressman's shooting first test for Trump-era gun debate

Henrietta Strickland
June 19, 2017

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe claimed Wednesday at a press conference (video below) that "we lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence". Nope, the first thought that went through their minds is that they better get the taxpayers to pony up more case for personal security.

They're plodding ahead, hopeful for action but pragmatic enough to know that the latest shooting doesn't dramatically alter the dynamics of their uphill battle.

The shooting in a Washington suburb - which came on the same day that a man shot five co-workers, three of them fatally at a United Parcel Service Inc. facility in San Francisco - is reviving the nation's unsettled debate over gun control, one in which Scalise has played a leading role. One piece of legislation would make it much easier to obtain silencers for guns, and the other would facilitate carrying concealed handguns across state lines.

For advocates, the common desire among Americans to have some sort of federal gun control legislation as an important point of unity in the debate.

Scalise was shot in the hip, while a congressional aide was also shot. "We are about this every day for all of our citizens".

The Republican-controlled House this year passed a bill making it harder for veterans who have been deemed mentally incompetent to be turned down for gun purchases.

For the Republican majority that incurred his rage, Hodgkinson's rampage and subsequent take-down only reinforced the NRA mantra that the only antidote for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

"Had there not been a member of House leadership present, there would have been no police present, and it would have become the largest act of political terrorism in years, if not ever", Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett said, according to the New York Times.

Garrett, who has received threats this year, said it was not only lawmakers who deserved the right to protect themselves. Today's shooting, during National Gun Violence Awareness Month, should give them pause.

Echoing those sentiments, the Republicans who control Washington dug in. Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama witnessed the shooting, but quickly reiterated his support for the Second Amendment. He noted the shooter had a criminal record and was from IL, which already has strict gun laws, "yet he was still able to access a firearm somehow".

First, it's unclear if the suspect - 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson of IL whom President Trump said has died from his injuries - obtained or was carrying the gun legally.

The lawmaker told WWJ Newsradio 950 the lawmakers on the team and their staffers were "sitting ducks" when the shooter arrived on the baseball field near Alexandria, reportedly after asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats who were practicing.

The debate on possession of firearms has been a "perennial issue" in this country, Robert Cottroll, a professor at George Washington Law School, told The Independent, with nearly as many guns in the U.S. as people.

Chris Hurst, a former WDBJ-TV news anchor man who was the boyfriend of Parker, is now running for a House of Delegates seat as a Democrat in the 12th district against Republican Del.

The incident also reminded the nation of the last time a member of Congress was deliberately attacked.

"I am heartbroken for the pain of Congressman Scalise, the other victims, and their family, friends, and colleagues who survived".

"This is a marathon", said Shannon Watts, who leads Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that sprang up after the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Soon after the shooting, messages of support began pouring in, and gun control advocates said that the attack highlights the need for safer streets in the US.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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