In the wake of a shooting targeting his Republican colleagues, GOP Rep. Chris Collins of New York said he would be carrying a firearm in his district from here on out.
The June 14 shooting targeted a team baseball practice made up of Republican members of Congress. The shooting left five injured, including House Majority Whip Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana. The shooter, who was killed by police, had expressed anger toward the president.
In a June 19 opinion article in The Washington Post, Collins said his colleagues in Congress will continue to argue over the cause of the shooting, but that his choice to carry out his Second Amendment rights was decided.
Collins said his decision to exercise his right to carry a gun was his own, and left out any overarching statement advocating for lawmakers and citizens to carry guns.
The Republican instead expressed that people should tone down the belligerence of political rhetoric of late, citing fault on both sides of the aisle.
Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin also put the burden of betterment on the shoulders of all Americans.
Collins had previously labeled Democrats as the source of such hurtful rhetoric, saying "you fuel the fires ... some people react to things like that," said Collins to WBEN, according to KWWL.
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich added to the commentary, saying during an interview on Fox News that certain rhetoric targeting President Donald Trump was hurting the state of political discourse.
"You've had a series of things, which sends signals that tell people that it's OK to hate Trump. It's OK think of Trump in violent terms. It's OK to consider assassinating Trump and then ... suddenly we're supposed to rise above it -- until the next time?" said Gingrich.
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama stated on June 18 that he would be introducing legislation to allow lawmakers carry guns with them in Washington, D.C., according to American Thinker:
I'm going to be introducing legislation this week to do this -- is to allow congressmen to carry a side arm should they so desire. Right now when we're in Washington, D.C., once were off the complex, we're still high profile targets, but we have absolutely no way to defend ourselves because of Washington, D.C.'s restrictive gun laws. We're high profile targets for the bad guys, the lone wolves, the terrorists, and I'll be introducing legislation to that effect this week.
Although a handful of members of Congress have advocated for increased weapon use, the results of a 2003 research paper from Stanford University gives life to skepticism about gun accessibility laws, saying, "statistical evidence that these laws have reduced crime is limited, sporadic, and extraordinarily fragile," according to Bloomberg.
In contrast, economist John Lott concluded that "allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes without increasing accidental deaths."