Steve Scalise: Who is the House Majority Whip shot in Virginia baseball field attack?

Louisiana representative is a strong advocate of the right to carry guns

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The Independent US

US Republican congressman Steve Scalise has been shot during a House of Representatives baseball practice in Virginia.

The 51-year-old was hit in the hip and is reported to be in a stable condition. Aides of the congressman were also shot by the gunman, who is said to have been armed with a rifle. 

Mr Scalise is the majority whip in the House of Representatives – a position he has held since August 2014, which makes him one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress. He was first elected to the House in 2008.

He grew up in New Orleans and began his political career as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He then became a state senator for five months, before being elected to the US Congress in a special election held to replace his predecessor, Bobby Jindal, who had resigned in order to run to be governor of Louisiana. 

Mr Scalise faced tough questions in 2014 when it emerged that he had spoken at an event organised by the European-American Unity and Rights Organisation, a white nationalist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. He admitted having spoken at the event but said he did know the group was widely accused of racism and anti-Semitism.

The Louisiana congressman is a strong supporter of the right to carry guns and co-sponsored the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which aimed to make it easier for guns to be bought and sold between people in difference states. That led the National Rifle Association (NRA) to thank him for his "leadership" in increasing "convenience and choice" for people wanting to buy guns.

Earlier this year he served on a panel that advised Donald Trump on issues relating to gun control and the Supreme Court. 

Mr Scalise was an early supporter of Mr Trump's run for the presidency - endorsed him in June 2016 – before the billionaire businessman was officially confirmed as the Republican presidential candidate. 

“Let me be clear, Donald Trump will do more to rebuild our middle class, get our economy moving again, strengthen our national defence, and appoint Supreme Court Justices who uphold our Constitution rather than rewrite it,” he said at the time. “Those are the reasons I’ve supported Donald Trump for President and that is why I will continue to do so.”  

More recently, he has been a vocal supporter of the US President’s efforts to ban immigration to the US from a number of Muslim-majority countries. "It's very prudent to say, 'Let's be careful about who comes into our country to make sure that they're not terrorists''", he said.

He praised Mr Trump earlier this year for “showing his commitment to American families with policies aimed at putting people back to work and growing our economy”. Following the shooting, the US President described the congressman as a "true friend and patriot".

Mr Scalise is married and has two children. 

Which other US congressmen were caught up in the attack?

Up to about 25 Republican legislators were on the field, below is a list of a number of those involved.

Rand Paul, Kentucky

Senator Paul has claimed that without the Capitol Hill Police being on the scene - because Mr Scalise is part of the Republican leadership - the shooting would have turned into "a massacre". Mr Paul said he was practising in a batting cage just outside the fence surrounding the baseball field when the shots started. he said he hid behind a tree and described shots landing in the outfield and around them.

Mr Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010 as the Senator for Kentucky, and took his place in 2011. He is generally described as a libertarian, who advocates limiting government powers. He is also opposed to laws which would limit the right to gun ownership.

Mr Paul ran for the presidency in 2016, before suspending his campaign in February of that year.

Mr Paul has been married for 25 years to his wife Kelley Ashby Paul - they have three sons.

Roger Williams, Texas

Joe Barton, Texas

Ron DeSantis, Florida

Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee

Jeff Flake, Arizona

Brad Wenstrup, Ohio

Gary Palmer, Alabama

Mo Brooks, Alabama