Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R), who chairs the House State Government Committee, attacked the survivors of last week’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida for speaking out against gun violence, questioning whether they are really students and dismissing their attempts to influence policy.
In Facebook and Twitter posts on Wednesday morning Metcalfe noted that he enlisted at age 17 and and accused “the left” of hypocrisy for expecting Florida legislators “to listen to the policy advice of 18 year old and younger ‘students’ who are advocating for gun control” but not believing that 18-year-olds should be allowed to purchase long guns.
Florida law permits rifle purchases by anyone over the age of 18, but handguns can only be purchased by people who are 21 or older.
Metcalfe, who lists “protection of life” as the top issue on his campaign website, hosted a 2017 gun-rights rally called “Make the 2nd amendment great again.” He proposed an unconstitutional bill in 2013 to make it a felony to enforce federal gun laws in Pennsylvania. He boasts of having been called “a double-barreled booster for gun rights and the political right.”
In December, Metcalfe made national news when he was caught on camera making homophobic remarks, admonishing a male heterosexual colleague for incidental physical contact, saying “look, I’m a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife, I don’t like men as you might but stop touching me all the time. Keep your hands to yourself. If you want to touch someone, you have people on your side of the aisle who might like it. I don’t.”
In 2015, he silenced a Latinx state legislator who was questioning the need for an English-only bill. In 2013, Metcalfe blocked an openly-gay lawmaker from speaking about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act, saying the remarks would be “open rebellion against God’s law.” In 2012, he defended his own voter suppression legislation by opining that “lazy” people shouldn’t get to vote. In 2009, he dismissed veterans who spoke out about the need for action on climate change as “traitors” acting like Benedict Arnold.
Metcalfe is but the latest right-wing figure to join a smear campaign against survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings with conspiracy theories and innuendo. He did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about his latest comments.