'Guns and violence are a fact of life,' Texas Rep. insists
Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul assailed as "nonsensical" the recent attempts at stiffening gun control laws in the aftermath of the shooting rampage in Arizona that killed six and left thirteen injured
In an op-ed for The Hill published Monday, Paul sharply denounced the violence in Tucson last Saturday, but said that "some have attempted to use this tragedy to discredit philosophical adversaries or score political points. This sort of opportunism is simply despicable."
Members of both parties, in response to the shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) critically wounded, have introduced legislation that would outlaw the selling of high-capacity ammunition magazines, close the "gun show loophole," and people from carrying firearms within 1,000 feet of lawmakers.
"This always seems to be the knee jerk reaction to any crime committed with a gun," Paul wrote. "Nonsensical proposals to outlaw guns around federal officials and install bulletproof barriers in the congressional gallery only reinforce the growing perception that politicians view their own lives as far more important than the lives of ordinary citizens."
Paul called the proposals "troubling," arguing that "this impulse is at odds with the best American traditions of self-reliance and individualism, and it also leads to bad laws and the loss of liberty." He added that "a large part of our personal safety depends on our ability to defend ourselves."
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) have signaled their opposition to stiffer gun restrictions. And third-ranking member of the Senate's majority, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) admitted Sunday that "there haven't been the votes in the Congress for gun control," calling it a "hard" issue.
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence, told Raw Story that "gun-friendly laws" were a culprit in the Tucson shootings, urging stronger background checks to red-flag people with mental illnesses.
The gun used in Tucson by 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner was purchased legally by him in November, police said.
A self-described strict constitutionalist, Paul's stances on issues like war and civil liberties have won him the affections of liberals, but his fierce opposition to gun-control laws puts him in a camp with the staunchest conservatives, who cherish the Second Amendment.
"Our constitutional right to bear arms does not create a society without risks of violent crime, and neither would the strictest gun control laws," Paul wrote. "Guns and violence are a fact of life."