Rep. Steve Scalise and Mark Kelly’s wife, former Representative Gabby Giffords, may not have a great deal in common, but there’s one thing they definitely do. They’ve both survived being shot by a maniac intent on seeing them dead.
With that in mind, one can imagine that Kelly would view Scalise as someone who would be interested in sharing the former astronaut’s views on gun control. However, when Kelly called Scalise up after the Republican lawmaker returned to work, the gun control advocate didn’t quite get what he was looking for.
Retired astronaut Mark Kelly late last month phoned House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) on his first day back at the Capitol.
Kelly said he and his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), were both praying for the Louisiana congressman’s speedy recovery and were glad to hear he was back at work 15 weeks after a gunman opened fire at a Republican baseball practice.
Then, Kelly brought up some of the gun reform work that he and Giffords have dedicated their lives to ever since 2011, when a man shot Giffords through the head and murdered six people at a Tucson constituent event.
We talked about a few things,” Scalise said of the private phone call, not wanting to get into specific details of what was discussed. “He obviously has some things that he’s promoting, but it was a very cordial conversation.”
Even though Scalise and Giffords are members of a tragic and exclusive club — lawmakers who have survived mass shootings — Scalise has made clear he won’t be joining Giffords’s push for expanded background checks and other gun-control measures.
His conviction for the Second Amendment and gun rights is unwavering, he said.
In fairness, it would be easy to imagine Scalise not being an ardent supporter of gun rights after what happened. It’s easy to support the Second Amendment when you’re not impacted by a violent individual with a gun. It becomes easy to question your principles at a time like that.
The fact that he remains a supporter of our right to keep and bear arms is a testament to how deeply his convictions on the issue run.
As Scalise noted:
In an interview Wednesday with The Hill, Scalise said, “You have to fight for the things you believe in. In Congress, we fight with rhetoric, we try to persuade people, and as whip, you try to get the votes to pass legislation. If somebody disagrees with you, you try to persuade them. But if they can’t be persuaded the other way, you move on.”
“But if someone resorts to violence, you can’t let that change your views,” the House GOP’s chief vote counter added. “These are very deep-rooted beliefs I have.”
However, it’s easy to watch violence change your views. Gabby Giffords was a long-time proponent of gun rights as well, then she was shot by a madman. That’s when it seems she changed her ideas about guns.
Scalise, however, didn’t.
I’m sure Kelly was disappointed that Scalise didn’t join in his family’s cause, but some people have views based on principles that don’t go away with the pull of a trigger. After all, the gun wasn’t responsible for what happened on that baseball field. A person was.
Same as all the other shootings.