Steve Scalise’s terrible answer to a good question about an assault weapons ban
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) dismissed legislative gun control efforts, and argued that more guns will help prevent gun violence, during an interview on Thursday’s edition of Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show.
Following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people, Ingraham asked Scalise to respond to a tweet from former President Bill Clinton — who pointed out that an assault weapons ban like the one enacted during his tenure may have prevented Nikolas Cruz from legally obtaining the AR-15 he used in this week’s shooting.
But Scalise argued that no new law could have prevented the carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“You know, you go find your law that was gonna prevent this or the next shooting, and first of all, whatever criminal did these actions violated a whole host of other laws too, so if you think there’s some magic unicorn law that is gonna stop it from happening, just keep in mind that he violated probably dozens of laws already,” Scalise said, ignoring that Cruz had no criminal background.
Scalise went on to link the Parkland school shooting to the near-death experience he had last summer, when he was shot during a congressional baseball team practice. For him, the lesson in both cases is that more guns help prevent gun violence.
“Shooters know that if you go into a gun-free zone, you’re the only one with a gun. Fortunately with me, I had two law enforcement agents with me that had guns that could counter the shooter, and ultimately that’s what took him down,” Scalise said. “These people that want to take away your rights, guised under all of these tragedies — go pray for the families, care about the families, don’t try to promote your agenda in the middle of a tragedy.”
The ‘good guy with a gun’ myth has also been invoked by President Trump, most notably in the wake of a mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas in November. But the evidence indicates that more guns actually correlates with more danger.
A comprehensive study by the Violence Policy Center found guns “are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes.” In 2012, “for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides,” researchers concluded. Another study by the University of Pennsylvania found that someone carrying a gun is “4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault.”
When a man allegedly began firing “nonchalantly” at shoppers in a Colorado Walmart in early November, the fact that other people in the store were armed actually caused more problems than it solved. Police said that the investigation was complicated by the fact that so many people pulled their own weapons as shots rang out. Ultimately, the shooter wasn’t apprehended for five hours.
Scalise’s comments also overlook that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School already had an armed guard who was unable to stop the shooting on Wednesday. Prominent Republicans have responded to that fact fact by arguing that one guard wasn’t sufficient, with some going so far as to suggest that schools should become more like military checkpoints.