While taking questions on Charlottesville, President Trump’s response, and related tensions during an August 21 town hall, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) voiced support for more gun control to keep guns out of the hands of people suspected of “domestic terrorism.”
Numerous protesters at Charlottesville were armed, but not a shot was fired. The death that occurred there was caused by a car attack.
Ryan was able to pivot to gun control because an audience member asked a question about the 2012 Sikh temple shooting, intimating that more should be done to keep guns out of the hands of people who will misuse them. This question was asked even though the Sikh temple attacker passed a federal background check to acquire his guns, and the gun store owner said nothing in the attacker’s behavior raised “eyebrows whatsoever.”
The gun store owner told the Los Angeles Times the attacker “didn’t have a shaved head or 9/11 tattoo. He didn’t talk stupid or act stupid.” The store owner added, “All the proper channels for authorization were followed. Nothing we could do would have stopped this.” Yet Speaker Ryan was willing to talk about more gun control.
The audience member that asked a question on the Sikh temple attack was known to Ryan because the questioner’s father was killed in the attack. After explaining how he knows the questioner, Ryan said, “We’ve got to do a better job of making sure that criminals don’t get guns or that people who are suspected of terrorism–like domestic terrorism–don’t get guns. Just like we saw…Heather Heyer was killed by an act of domestic terrorism. This fits into that category so I think we have to do a better job of making sure that terrorists not get guns.”
Two quick points: 1. Heather Heyer’s death was a tragedy and an outrage, but she was killed with a car, not a gun. 2. Ryan went on to add that we have to protect Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens, but how can gun rights be protected if citizens can simultaneously lose rights due to being “suspected” of something? There is a short step between this and forfeiting rights based on mere allegations.
Breitbart News reached out to Speaker Ryan to see why he focused on guns after a car attack but received no comment.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.