Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) accused MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and other gun safety advocates of politicizing the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to advance a “political agenda” of greater gun safety, outraging the former Florida Congressman.
“I think it’s an issue of the Second Amendment,” Huelskamp said in response to a question abut why he opposes banning assault weapons. “It says we have a right to protect ourselves.” He added: “but Gosh, let’s step back. Let’s not build on the tragedy in Connecticut and use that to actually push a political agenda.” The charge riled Scarborough who, in the aftermath of the shooting, abandoned his opposition to gun safety and said that he would support sensible gun regulations.
The ‘Morning Joe’ host quickly reminded Huelskamp that the nation acted swiftly after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and explained that taking sensible measures to prevent future massacres is not exploitative. But Huelskamp insisted that the government should stay out and said that parents must “take control of their children” and make sure they don’t play violent video games:
SCARBOROUGH: To push a political agenda?
HUELSKAMP: Oh, absolutely. This president and his folks are using this to push —
SCARBOROUGH: What was your feeling after September 11th, Congressman? Were there some changes made in this country because of the tragedy of September 11th? Was that just using a tragedy, 3,000 deaths, to try to make Americans safer? Do you dare come on my show and say I am using the slaughter of 20 little 6 and 7-year-old children, I’m using that for political purposes, Tim?
HUELSKAMP: Joe, how many children do you have?
SCARBOROUGH: I’ve got four children, Tim. Answer my question.
HUELSKAMP: So do I. And I refuse to let you say that because you have children, or anybody else, that we need to actually politicize this. But I see folks in Washington — I don’t know about you. I don’t watch your show…
SCARBOROUGH: Tim, I’m not going to let you say that I am, quote, politicizing the slaughter of 20 children…. So we can’t at least talk about guns without you questioning my integrity and saying that I’m using the death of 20 children to try to make life for my children a little bit safer? We can’t even talk about it without you coming on this show and insulting me personally?
Huelskamp’s campaign website touts his “100% pro-gun” voting record and “A+” rating from the National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun lobby. “In addition to being the only A+ rated candidate in this race, I have also received the endorsement of the Gun Owners of America and many state and national leaders,” Huelskamp brags.
In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, accused gun safety advocates of having blood on their hands and said that Americans should be “prepared” to take on elected officials with guns.