Texas’ Louie Gohmert defends gun rights in emotional outburst
WASHINGTON — In a moving monologue during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun reform Thursday, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert pushed back against criticism from Democrats and delivered an impassioned rebuttal to the defense of gun rights.
“How dare you! You think we have no heart? It’s just that when we look at the things you do and try to do to America, we’ve seen the carnage,” he said. said Gohmert. “I mean, for heaven’s sake.”
The Republican who represents much of East Texas, including Tyler, Longview and Marshall, was upset with earlier remarks by California Congressman Eric Swalwell, who spoke just before him, on Fort Worth Star Telegram reported.
Swalwell wondered if some Republicans are more concerned with retaining gun rights than ensuring children are safe from gun violence in schools.
“If you’re not here for the kids, why don’t you go to the killer’s funeral?” the Democrat asked following the Uvalde shooting in which a gunman killed 21 people, including 19 children in an elementary school. “Because it’s the only place the killer is celebrated.”
Several other mass shootings, including four people murdered by a gunman at a Tulsa hospital on Wednesday, have occurred since the May 24 Uvalde shooting.
Gohmert, who joined the audience via Zoom, took issue with Swalwell’s characterization.
“I don’t think it’s very effective for kids that people across the aisle come in and accuse Republicans of being complicit in murder, and that we put our right to kill on the right of others to live,” Gohmert said. “To infer by rhetorical, supposed questions, ‘Who are you here for? We have to be here for the gunmen’, it’s a scandal.
Gohmert continued, saying that because Democrats “control the big cities that have the worst murder rates,” the “party’s ideas have been shown to get people killed.”
“Are you here for the murderers in Chicago, Philadelphia, those other big cities?” Gohmert asked rhetorically, although supposedly in response to Swalwell’s comments earlier. “Because you want to do nationally what the Democrats are doing in these big cities. We care about people, we care about their lives.
Gohmert then listed other cities — with Democratic mayors — that he said “had the highest homicide rates of all time in 2021,” including Rochester, New York, Baton Rouge, La., Portland, Oregon and Austin, with the implication that Democratic-led gun reforms in those cities were ineffective in preventing deaths.
That logic, however, does not sit well with Uvalde — a rural town of 15,000 and an outspoken Republican mayor — or even Buffalo, NY, where an 18-year-old killed 10 people in a supermarket on May 14. the population is about 255,000, only one-fifth of Dallas’ 1.3 million.
“How dare you arrogant people blame the murder on those of us who want to do things to stop it because we’ve seen what your ideas are doing, they’re creating more murders,” Gohmert said. .
Other Texans, including Democrats Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, also serve on the House Judiciary Committee. During Thursday’s hearing, Garcia offered a pointed assessment that Republicans are “conniving” to Uvalde for their opposition to “comprehensive gun reform.”
She went on to say that Republicans are also complicit in various other high-profile mass shootings, not only because of their stance on guns, but also their rhetoric on immigration, race and gay rights. . anti-Latino, anti-immigrant narrative and for putting the interests of the gun lobby above people’s lives,” Garcia said.
Gohmert is no stranger to outbursts like this or controversy.
Known for his inflammatory comments, Gohmert has been one of the most outspoken members of Congress, repeating former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
He also suggested the Jan. 6 riot was a left-wing plot and repeatedly denounced the arrests of people who stormed the Capitol that day, calling the detainees political prisoners.
In 2013, Gohmert nominated former U.S. Representative Allen West, a conservative from Florida and former candidate for governor of Texas, for Speaker of the United States House, even though West was not a member of Congress in the time. In 2015, after 10 years in Congress, Gohmert unsuccessfully introduced himself as a speaker.
Washington correspondent Joseph Morton contributed to this report.