Congressman injured in mass shooting says it would be 'dangerous' for government to limit who can have guns

'The problem is not that there are too many guns,' says Representative Steve Scalise

Emily Shugerman
New York
@eshugerman
Sunday 08 October 2017 15:39
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Steve Scalise says we must commit to protecting the 2nd Amendment

A US Congressman who was nearly killed in a mass shooting this summer has claimed it would be “dangerous” for the government to limit who can have a gun.

“It's dangerous for the concept that the federal government would have some kind of list of who has guns and what they have,” Republican Representative Steve Scalise told NBC’s Chuck Todd.

Americans' right to bear arms should be "unlimited," the Representative added.

“The problem is not that there are too many guns," he said. "It's that there are people that will go out and break the law."

Mr Scalise was seriously injured in a shooting at a Congressional baseball practise in June. The House Majority whip was shot in the hip by a lone gunman who attacked the practise, wounding Mr Scalise and five others. The Representative's injuries required multiple surgeries and kept him off the House floor for three months.

But in the wake of that shooting – and the recent, deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas – the Representative has stayed firm in his anti-gun-control position.

“Don't try to put new laws in place that don't fix these problems," he said on Sunday. "They only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to own a gun.”

The Las Vegas shooting – the deadliest in modern American history – has reignited the gun control debate in Washington. Several of Mr Scalise’s fellow Republicans, and even the National Rifle Association, have said they would be willing to regulate bump stocks – the device used by the Las Vegas shooter to help him fire faster.

Sean Hannity attacks gun control after Las Vegas shooting

But many Democrats say they want to go further. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill to ban bump stocks completely, claiming regulations alone “aren’t going to do it".

"Right now we are seeing one president changes actions of a president that came before him, and that would happen in this area," she said on CBS's Face the Nation. "So we need a law and we have an opportunity to get it. I hope Americans will step up and say enough is enough – Congress, do something."

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, meanwhile, said he is willing to work with Republicans on bump stock regulations, but added that it is “a fairly small change”.

“If we really want to have a downward trajectory on the number of mass shootings and the number of gun deaths every single day, you've got to go far beyond just clarifying that people shouldn't have automatic weapons,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Ms Feinstein said she didn’t know of a gun control law that could have stopped the shooting in Las Vegas, in which the gunman passed every background check required to purchase weapons. But according to Mr Murphy, that’s not the point.

“We need to recognise that though these mass shootings are the ones that get all the attention, there’s no other country in the world that has the level of daily mass gun violence that we do, and we have a responsibility to address all of that as well,” he said.

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