Scalise: ‘The problem is not that there are too many guns’

Scalise: ‘The problem is not that there are too many guns’
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Midterms to shake up top posts on House finance panel On The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' MORE (R-La.) stressed in an interview Sunday that existing gun laws should be enforced, rejecting the argument that there are too many guns in Americans' hands.

"The problem is not that there are too many guns," Scalise, who was shot over the summer at a GOP baseball practice, said on NBC's "Meet The Press."

"It's that there are people that will go out and break the law, whether it's a gun or some other weapon or a bomb."

Scalise added there's "no excuse" for breaking the law.

"There's no excuse for using any kind of weapon to try to take the life of an innocent person," he said.

The Louisiana Republican was pressed on why he thinks the U.S. leads the world in gun deaths and mass shootings.

"Let's recognize that the vast majority of gun violence and gun killings in this country are committed by people who broke the law to get the gun," he said.

"But you go to a city like Chicago, some of the toughest gun laws in the country are in the city of Chicago, and yet they have the worst gun violence."

He also said there isn't enough focus on the number of people who use guns to protect themselves against criminals.

Scalise was asked if he acknowledges that funding has been withheld from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

"Right, but if the Justice Department chooses whether or not they're going to prosecute, that's ultimately something that they make a decision on," Scalise said.

"And they were making bad decisions to not prosecute people who broke gun laws. You're seeing a change in that now, and that'll actually help stop some of these gun deaths in the future."

Scalise called for the enforcement of current gun laws, rather than trying to "put new laws in place that don't fix these problems."

"They only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to own a gun," he said.

He also addressed the recent push for legislation that would ban bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.

"I know there are people that are asking the ATF to go back and review their 2010 decision to authorize it," he said.

"And I think they should, and they are."
 
His comments come after more than 50 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas.
 
Since the shooting, many lawmakers have renewed their push for gun control.