Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who on Thursday returned for his first full day of work in the House since being wounded in a shooting this summer, said the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday had only “fortified” his position on gun control.
“When there’s a tragedy like this, the first thing we should be thinking about is praying for the people who were injured and doing whatever we can to help them,” Scalise told Fox News host Martha MacCallum in an interview on Tuesday. “We shouldn’t first be thinking of promoting our political agenda. I think we see too much of that, where people say, ‘OK, now you have to have gun control.'”
In June, Scalise was at a Republican congressional baseball practice when a gunman opened fire with an SKS semiautomatic rifle, hitting Scalise in the hip and wounding four others. The gunman, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, died from his injuries after a shootout with police. Scalise required several surgeries and rehabilitation.
After the Las Vegas massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, police discovered more than 20 firearms in the 32nd-floor hotel room where the gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on the 22,000 people attending a music festival across the street.
The shooting left nearly 60 people dead and over 500 others injured.
Scalise, however, remained adamant that legislation favoring gun control would not be beneficial and instead would infringe upon the rights of many Americans.
“Look at some of those bills,” Scalise said. “Those bills wouldn’t have done anything to stop this.
“The gunman actually cleared background checks,” Scalise continued. “To promote some kind of gun control, I think, is the wrong way to approach this. And frankly, what I experienced was when there was a shooter, luckily we had Capitol Police there with their own guns.”
He later added: “People use guns way more to defend themselves from criminals than criminals using guns to hurt people.”