Republican senator compares mass shootings to drunk driving during hearing on gun violence

GOP lawmaker has ‘A’ rating from NRA

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 24 March 2021 03:53
Senator John Kennedy compares gun violence to drunk driving.mp4
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Republican senator John Neely Kennedy on Tuesday sought to put the nation’s overwhelming rates of gun violence “in perspective” by drawing a false equivalence between mass shooting events and drunk drivers, hours after 10 people were killed in Boulder, Colorado.

“I’m not trying to perfectly equate these two, but we have a lot of drunk drivers in America that killed a lot of people – we ought to try to combat that, too,” he said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence.

“But I think what many folks on my side of the aisle are saying is the answer is not to get rid of all sober drivers. The answer is to concentrate on the problem,” he said.

The Louisiana senator also drew another false equivalence between people who own guns and Muslims.

“When a Muslim jihadist blows up a school full of school children, we are often told not to condemn all of the actions of those of the Muslim faith because of the actions of a few, and I agree with that,” he said. “So why doesn’t the same rule apply to the 100 million-plus gun owners in America who are exercising their constitutional right?”

Critics pointed out that his argument appears to make the case for more government regulation on gun ownership.

To legally own and operate a car in the US, one must pass a driving test, obtain a government-issued license, buy insurance, and pay the government to register and subject the car to routine inspections, among other state and local checks throughout the course of owning the car – not to mention the long list of federal regulations, from seat belts to speed limits, involved with driving a car, or legal consequences for killing someone while driving under the influence.

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In Mr Kennedy’s state, drivers must also pay state and local fees for routine brake and light inspections.

The senator has an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund for his opposition to gun control measures.

Democrats and a handful of Republicans in the House of Representatives recently passed two gun control measures backed by president Joe Biden: one would extend the window for a background check before a gun sale and the other would extend background checks to cover all gun sales and transfers. The measures face stiff opposition in the Senate.

The White House and congressional Democrats are eager to move gun control legislation through Congress following years of GOP resistance amid the crisis.

Mass shootings within the last week follow the deaths of at least 43,436 Americans who died from gun violence in 2020, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA). The American Public Health Association has named gun violence a public health crisis and one of the leading causes of premature death in the US.

In 2020, at least 513 people were killed and more than 2,500 people were injured in 611 mass shootings in the US, according to GVA.

Within the decade between 2009 and 2018, at least 1,214 people were killed and 834 were wounded in 194 mass shootings in the US, an average of 19 shootings each year, according to gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

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