If ever there were a Republican who could probably get away with supporting gun control, it’s Rep. Steve Scalise.
After all, the man was shot by a deranged progressive looking to kill as many Republicans as he could.
Through it all, though, Scalise has held his firm with his support of the Second Amendment. The same can’t be said about Fox News, apparently.
After pointing out that the U.S. “far and away leads every other nation” in the developed world in terms of gun violence, Fox News anchor John Roberts pointed to polling that showed 89% of Americans support background checks for gun owners and 74% support red flag laws.
“You and other Republicans have views about background checks and red flag laws that seem to run counter to what public sentiment is,” Roberts told the Louisiana Republican. “So are the views that you and your colleagues hold out of step with where the nation is?”
Scalise argued that the questions in the poll were misleading and called red flag laws “unconstitutional.”
“Under the guise of ‘red flag,’ they take away due process,” he argued.
“They literally come into your house and take away your gun without you even knowing that there was some kind of proceeding where somebody said, ‘Oh, I think that [person] might be a threat,’” the lawmaker said.
There was more, of course, but the truth is that Scalise is right in how he describes red flag laws and why they must be opposed.
But are Republicans out of touch?
No. As Scalise noted, the polls are often misleading. They simply ask if people support background checks for gun sales. The thing is, we already have those in place. The polls almost universally fail to ask whether people support background checks for specific types of transfers–and that’s where support for such laws fall apart.
There’s a reason a number of states have had such laws on the ballot and seen them fail in the face of supposed support.
At the end of the day, the problem is that we don’t govern by polls. We have the Constitution and each lawmakers swears an oath to support and defend it.
It sounds like Scalise is trying to actually do that.
However, I’m more than a little concerned that Fox News is pushing this kind of thing. I’d expect in on CNN or MSNBC or one of the big three networks, but Fox News is supposed to be holding the line. It’s supposed to be so conservative that we should be able to trust it not to push this kind of narrative.
Granted, I don’t want TV news anymore if I can help it, so maybe this is just Roberts’s style. Maybe he pushes everyone like this and it’s not anything to do with left-leaning journalism.
Either way, though, Scalise handled himself just fine. While the Huffington Post can call it deflection, he said what he needed to say.