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Tennessee GOP lawmaker says Congress shouldn’t address gun violence

Rep. Tim Burchett and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after a ceremony to nullify the D.C. crime bill, Friday, March 10, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib

This article was originally published here

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told a reporter on Monday that it would be futile for Congress to try to “fix” mass shootings.

Burchett’s comments came after a shooter armed with two assault rifles gunned down three 9-year-olds and three adults in a Christian elementary school in Nashville, which he called a “horrible situation.”

“We’re not going to fix it. Criminals are gonna be criminals,” Burchett said in an interview on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building. “My daddy, who fought in the Second World War, fought in the Pacific, fought the Japanese, and he told me, ‘Buddy,’ he said, ‘If somebody wants to take you out and doesn’t mind losing their life, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it.'”

The reporter then asked Burchett if Congress has a role in stopping mass shootings, to which he replied, “I don’t see any real role that we could do other than mess things up.”

And when asked what could be done to protect children like his own daughter, Burchett said,”We homeschool her. … Some people don’t have that option.”

Evidence shows, however, that legislation does reduce gun violence in the United States.

According to the anti-gun violence organization Brady Campaign, the number of mass shootings surged by 183  percent after the expiration of a federal assault weapons ban Congress had passed in 1994.

A Rand Corporation study published in January found that a ban on high-capacity magazines, which allow guns to fire more rounds without reloading, decreased the number of mass shootings and mass shooting deaths.

“States with high-capacity magazine bans had a significant 48 percent reduction in mass shooting incidents, and a suggestive 33  percent reduction in mass shooting fatalities,” the study says.

Gun safety groups such as the Brady Campaign are urging Congress to pass both an assault weapons ban and a high-capacity magazine ban in tandem.

The House passed an assault weapons ban in 2022 when Democrats controlled the chamber, but it died in the Senate. In January, House Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban high-capacity magazines at the federal level. With Republicans now in control of the House, both are unlikely to be scheduled for a vote.

Polling shows that Americans want Congress to act and pass stricter gun laws.

An Associated Press survey from August 2022 found 71 percent of American adults want stricter gun laws, including 59 percent who think AR-15 style weapons such as those the shooter used in Nashville should be banned.

After Monday’s shooting, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, reupping a demand he made during his State of the Union address in February.

“The shooter in this situation reportedly had two assault weapons and a pistol — two AK-47. So I call on Congress, again, to pass my assault weapons ban,” Biden said. “It’s about time that we begin to make some more progress.”

Burchett supports more access to guns rather than tightened gun laws. According to his campaign website, “Tim is an avid gun owner with a handgun carry permit. In the state legislature, he sponsored legislation to expand gun rights … As a lifetime NRA member, you can count on Tim to protect our Second Amendment rights.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

 

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