A gunman targeted GOP members of congress and opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday morning, leaving four people injured.
The shooter has since been identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, who was shot by police and later died from his wounds.
Casual gun violence and mass shootings are nothing new in America. In fact, they’ve almost become normalized in our society. Typically, after one of these tragedies occurs, the gun control debate takes the spotlight as Democrats call for stronger gun control reforms while Republicans evoke the Second Amendment to keep the laws as lax as they are.
However, now that some of their own have been targeted, the question arises whether Republicans will change their tune and be more open to gun control reforms.
One of the victims of Wednesday’s attack, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, has been a steadfast gun advocate and even touts an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, The Los Angeles Times reports. But, now that he’s experienced senseless gun violence firsthand, his perspective may shift.
Thus far, however, the reaction from each party has stuck to the status quo with Democrats calling for gun control reforms and Republicans pushing back.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, responded to the incident that occurred in his state by making a case for gun control reform while simultaneously maintaining that what happened is not about gun control — presumably, to quell any speculation that this stunt was somehow orchestrated by Democrats to push their gun control agenda.
“I have long advocated — this is not what today is about — but there are too many guns on the streets,” McAuliffe told reporters. He added, "I have long talked about this —background checks and shutting down gun show loopholes. And that’s not for today’s discussion, but it’s not just about politicians. We worry about this every day for all of our citizens.”
On the flip side, Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York) called for Democrats to “tone down the rhetoric” in an interview with WBEN radio.
"The rhetoric has been outrageous — the finger-pointing, just the tone and the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters. Really, then, you know, some people react to things like that. They get angry as well. And then you fuel the fires."
He then vowed to start keeping his handgun on his person at public events.
“On a rare occasion I'd have my gun in the glove box or something, but it's going to be in my pocket from this day forward,” he said.
It should be noted, however, that once you're already struck with a bullet that you didn’t see coming, having your handgun in your pocket probably wouldn’t do you much good. This exact point is why you don’t often hear about armed civilians thwarting an active shooter in many of these situations.
Oftentimes, when a shooter is stopped by a gun, it's at the hands of a member of law enforcement, which is exactly what occurred in Alexandria.
In any case, below are some other conservative thoughts shared on Twitter about gun control in connection to the shooting, which range from absurd to downright idiotic.
VA Gov Terry McAuliffe talking about gun control. "Too many guns," he says.— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) June 14, 2017
A GUN STOPPED THE SHOOTER. My God.
Less gun control! More Bernie Sanders' supporter control! For public safety, we must license, register and monitor his voters. #Alexandria— Larry Elder (@larryelder) June 14, 2017
Rep. Mo Brooks was asked the inevitable gun control question. Here's what he said: pic.twitter.com/MKPw5HgXtL— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) June 14, 2017
To all you MORONS crying we need more regulations on "gun control", STHU! IT was guns that SAVED this from being a massacre! #Alexandria— Lisa Smith (@lsmith4680) June 14, 2017
What happened in Va. today is a direct result of the vitriol and hate spewing from the Left. We don't need gun control we need #LibControl— MTJ (@Md_Renegade) June 14, 2017
As it appears, many Republicans believe that the answer to curbing gun violence in this country is not to do away with guns, but to get rid of Democrats. So much for coming to their senses.