CNN’s Dana Bash pressed Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw on passing gun control legislation during Sunday’s “State of the Union” in the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting.
“I think people want to know what is the solution, what would you agree with because the way the answers are coming out now it’s that nothing is gonna change,” Bash said. “And I don’t think people in this community and across the country want to hear that after their babies were being massacred by these guns.”
“I think what needs to change is the things that would have the most immediate and succinct effect and tangible effect on these things and that’s actual security at a school,” Crenshaw replied. He argued that Republicans have attempted to reform gun laws with the Fix NICS and Stop Violence at Schools Acts, which intend to strengthen the background check system and increase resources for security.
“Why not do both?” Bash pressed. “Why are they mutually exclusive? Why can’t you secure schools and other solutions that have to do with access to guns in a way that respects the Second Amendment and its core of what it was meant to be intended as?”
“None of those things are mutually exclusive,” Crenshaw said. “That’s exactly the problem with it because a lot of these policies that the Democrats often propose that are gun control policies, they do two things. One, they infringe on the rights of millions and millions of gun owners, and two, they probably wouldn’t have the outcome that you’re hoping for. So if you’re not going to get the benefit you want, but it’s going to come at great cost, then generally it means it’s not a very good policy.” (RELATED: Even WaPo Is Skeptical About Stricter Gun Laws)
“How can you be so sure?” the host asked.
Crenshaw said the gun ownership and violence rates are unrelated, pointing to New Hampshire and midwestern states that have high gun ownership but low violence. The Texas representative then cited a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study finding that every year, nearly 500,000 armed individuals defend themselves and others with a firearm.
“Congressman, it sounds like you’re saying that guns in this country are not a problem, is that what you’re saying? I mean, there are 300 something million people, 400 million guns. You don’t see that as a problem?” Bash asked, appearing to cite data from the Small Arms Survey which found that over 393 million civilians possessed firearms in the U.S.
“No, I think culturally we’re a country that has long had a Second Amendment that believes in the right to self-defense,” the representative replied. “I don’t think it’s a problem that I own guns. And I know that if I destroyed all my guns, it would have zero effect on crime. It would have zero effect on gun homicides because I’m not the person who shoots somebody. I am the person who might protect somebody from being shot.”
Bash mentioned the 19 armed police officers who waited nearly an hour before breaching the classroom inside Robb Elementary School where the gunman, Salvador Ramos, barricaded the door for 30-60 minutes.
She then pointed to the text of the Second Amendment, asking Crenshaw if the Founding Fathers intended for “weapons of war” to be used “to massacre children.” The representative said the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own a firearm and to form a well-regulated militia. He then said the so-called “weapons of war” are used to defend oneself.
“They’re more of a self-defense weapon. I would say if a SEAL team or an infantry unit goes on offense, they’re using much, much bigger weapons that are not available to your common civilian,” the representative said. “We use our M-4s, which is an AR-style weapon, mostly for self-defense and for very close quarters type of combat.”