Trey Gowdy, congressman from South Carolina who is retiring from elected office at the end of his term, gave a remarkable statement in the aftermath of the terrible Parkland mass shooting.
It might constitute “the voice of reason” on the matter of what America can do now to prevent more mass shootings like the Parkland massacre, which unfortunately claimed at least 17 lives.
Appearing on Fox News, Gowdy gave a remarkable overview of where the nation stands now and how we can move forward in our heartbroken grief over what happened on Wednesday.
“What do you tell Americans who think Congress does not act, be it on mental health or guns or pick your topic,” Fox News host Bill Hemmer said.
“Well the first thing I would say to — to this generation of children is how sorry I am,” Gowdy responded. “You have witnessed school shootings and mall shootings, concert shootings. There is no place that seems safe in our society.”
“So as devastating as the loss of life is, the loss of innocence for this generation of children — I don’t know anyone who would not pass a bill today that would prevent the next mass shooting,” the congressman said.
“But — but to Senator Rubio’s point, you got to find out how he accessed the gun,” he continued. “You got to find out whether or not there was a data point at some point in his background where someone could have reported it. Whether or not he accessed the gun legally or illegally.”
“Usually at about this time, Bill, we hear about the gun show loophole,” Gowdy went on. “Fine, close that gun show loophole. But how many mass killings have resulted from guns purchased at gun shows? So my criticism of the Obama administration was, we had an eight year decline in gun prosecutions.”
“My objective is to prosecute the person before he takes a life,” said Gowdy, who reportedly intends to return to a career in law enforcement. “Enforce the laws for which the Obama administration said there is no jury appeal. I get it. I used to prosecute them. There is no jury appeal in prosecuting a prohibited person. There is jury appeal in a murder case. But — but our goal should be to avoid the murder. So, if you can show me a law that will prevent the next mass killing, go ahead and sign me up for it.”
This is a common debate following tragic mass shootings: Whether or not more gun laws can fix the problem or whether there are other causal factors such as mental illness, medication, or deep systemic cultural problems in American society.
“I think people listening at home would say, sir,” Hemmer replied, “once the facts emerge the topic itself is forgotten and we move to the next thing or the next battle or debate or again pick whatever topic you want to on the hill. But there doesn’t seem to be movement toward protecting America’s kids. That’s a strong indictment.”
“I would respectfully say to them I think there has been some movement in the last 12 months,” Gowdy said. “We were very clear to attorney general Sessions that we are disappointed that the gun prosecutions went down for eight years.”
“So before we begin to advocate for new laws,” Gowdy continued, “I think it is imminently fair to say how are we doing enforcing the ones we currently have? There are a long list of prohibited people from possessing a single bullet much less a gun. A long list of prohibited people including those who have been adjudicated mentally ill. How are we doing enforcing the current laws? If all we do is pass another law, that an attorney general and U.S. Attorneys won’t enforce. I don’t know how it makes people safer.”
The Congress will miss Trey Gowdy for being the voice of reason on many issues, even if his insight merely fosters debate about crucial matters of public consequences, such as how America can prevent more tragic mass shootings.
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