The shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and four others at a baseball field by James Hodgkinson on Wednesday has heightened the already fervent debate on gun control in America, at the center of which is the oft-cited Second Amendment.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who was in the batting cages at the time of the attack, has recounted the terrible details to the public, and some people have wondered if this incident will inspire steps toward gun reform since a Republican congressman was the target of the violence (though that doesn't say a lot about Congress). However, at the same time an old tweet of Paul's has resurfaced to play devil's advocate.
.@Judgenap: Why do we have a Second Amendment? It's not to shoot deer. It's to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 23, 2016
If we're to take the senator at his tweets, it wouldn't be a stretch to think that he finds the shooting justified in some twisted way. After all, according to Paul, what's the Second Amendment for if not to attack a tyrannical government?
People have noticed the irony.
Hm. Rand Paul has an interesting take on the second amendment. Context is weird now. pic.twitter.com/C2NKcisN9t— eli friedmann (@eligit) June 14, 2017
According to Rand Paul's tweet, it's considered exercising his second amendment right. Each individual can see "tyranny" differently. pic.twitter.com/eYcTGxUYoV— Martha (@BaumMartha) June 15, 2017
The statement was originally made by Fox contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano, and a spokesman for the senator told Mediaite that one of the senator's staffers had posted it and that "Those are not Senator Rand Paul's words." Nevertheless, the fact remains that the tweet has been on Paul's Twitter for almost a year, and given his voting record, it's no leap to assume it represents his thoughts on gun ownership in America.
This might all change though because it's easy to preach gun rights when you haven't looked down the barrel of a gun yourself or seen what a bullet can do in the hands of an unstable and angry person. There is bound to be some tension between Paul's beliefs and his now first-hand experiences, and the Virginia shooting will hopefully make other congressmen think, too.