Tennessee Democrat Rep. Steve Cohen blamed opposition to gun control on voters’ affinities for “guns and the Bible” on Wednesday in an MSNBC appearance.
“I got the vitriol from on the Twitter from all these people who opposed that cartoon,” said Cohen, who tweeted a cartoon that appeared to blame the National Rifle Association for the Navy Yard shooting spree on Tuesday. “They are hardcore Republicans. This I think means more to them than — I think their guns are right there next to their Bibles. I’m not sure which they find more important to them.”
Cohen’s remarks bear a strong resemblance to comments made by President Barack Obama in 2008 at a California fundraiser, where he explained that economic downturns pushed “bitter” Pennsylvania voters to “cling to guns or religion” — a point co-host David Corn quickly made.
Corn also asked if opposition to disarming private citizens was “a cultural matter that can’t really be broken by simple politics.”
Corn’s question prompted Cohen to blame guns and the Bible for primary challenges to moderate establishment Republicans.
“It’s been that way for a while, and it certainly is in the Republican caucus,” Cohen said. “These people are afraid to get primaried, which they would. And you see Lamar Alexander, who’s a reasonable Republican, now has a right-wing opponent in his primary in my state. Mitch McConnell has one in Kentucky. Rich Luger, one of the stars of the Senate, was defeated by a right-winger, so it’s around, and it’s difficult. And it is guns, and the Bible.”
On Tuesday, Cohen’s tweet quickly drew fire from supporters and detractors alike.
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) September 16, 2013
.@RepCohen as a progressive who believes very strongly in gun control I still have to ask… what the hell were you thinking posting this?
— robert_ steburg (@rowast) September 17, 2013