House Majority Whip Steve Scalise spoke at length about gun control in a new interview tonight, telling Fox News he is “absolutely” as strong as ever on the Second Amendment.
The Republican representative from Louisiana recently returned to Congress after he was shot by a gunman in June at a Congressional baseball practice. After a long medical recovery, he’ll face revived conversations with fellow congressmen and women on gun control. His return came just days before the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history at a country music festival in Las Vegas.
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“You’re part of a club, an unfortunate club, of people who know what it’s like to be shot at,” Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum said to the congressman.
Will that experience change how Scalise thinks or votes?
“I think it’s fortified it,” Scalise said. “We shouldn’t first be thinking of promoting our political agenda. And I think we see too much of that, where people say OK, now you have to have gun control.”
Scalise questioned the effectiveness of bills pushed by Democrats and a handful of Republicans following recent mass shootings, like expanded background checks. Stephen Paddock, the alleged Las Vegas shooter, passed background checks and purchased his guns legally.
“So to promote some kind of gun control, I think, is the wrong way to approach this,” Scalise said.
When pushed on specific restrictions for weapons as deadly as the semi-automatic rifles used by the Las Vegas shooter, Scalise pointed to mental health legislation Congress passed last year.
“One thing we’ve seen over the years is that a lot of these mass shootings involve people with mental health issues,” he said.
“We actually addressed this in Congress just a few months ago. We passed a bill called The Twenty-First Century Cures Act, that had a major reform of our mental health system,” Scalise said, adding that a new position was created within the Louisiana Department of Health for an assistant secretary for mental health.