Rep. Steve Scalise, who was badly wounded in a mass shooting earlier this year, complained that the media does not report the “different side” of the gun violence story in which legal gun owners shoot criminals.
Scalise returned to Congress last week after he was severely wounded by a gunman who opened fire on a Congressional baseball practice in June. Five others were shot in the chaos.
Discussing the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 others, Scalise told Fox News the massacre only “fortified” his views on gun rights.
“When there is a tragedy like this, the first thing we should be thinking about is praying for the people who were injured and do whatever we can to help them, to help law enforcement,” Scalise said. “We shouldn’t first be thinking of promoting our political agenda.”
Scalise pushed back against calls to ban military-style firearms, like the rifles used to kill scores of people from a 32nd story window in Las Vegas.
“I think we see too much of that where people say, ‘OK, now you have to have gun controls,” Scalise said. “Frankly, what I experienced was when there was a shooter, we had — luckily we had Capitol police there with their own guns.”
Scalise went on to say that the media should report on legal gun owners shooting criminals, implying that those were positive stories about people who deserved to die.
“Every single day in America, regular citizens that just have a passionate belief in the Second Amendment that have their own guns use guns every single day to protect themselves against criminals,” the lawmaker said. “Those stories never get told or hardly ever get told. That’s a different side of the story that I think is important.”
Steve Scalise speaks out after Las Vegas massacre: The first thing we should be thinking about is praying not our political agenda pic.twitter.com/zhvdNSdife
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) October 4, 2017
While there are certainly incidents in which legal gun owners are able to successfully defend themselves against armed criminals, studies have found that people who carry firearms are far more likely to be shot and killed themselves.
A University of Pennsylvania study found that people who carried guns were 4.5 times more likely to be shot and 4.2 times more likely to be killed than unarmed people. The odds get even higher in incidents where the victim had a chance to defend themselves.
In any case, the gun owners that Scalise mentioned defending themselves from criminals probably don’t need a cache of assault weapons and equipment to essentially convert those weapons into fully automatic rifles.
Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had more than a dozen assault rifles that were fitted with “bump stocks,” which use the rifle recoil to repeatedly fire the trigger, essentially emulating a fully automatic rifle.
Paddock bought his 41 guns legally, and the bump stocks are legal as well.
California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill Wednesday that would ban the sale of bump stocks and similar equipment.
Feinstein previously sponsored an assault weapons ban in 2013 which was voted down 40-60.