GOP Senator Compares Gun Violence to Drunk Driving the Day After a Mass Shooting

“We have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people,” Republican Sen. John Kennedy said.
March 23, 2021, 5:56pm
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

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Less than a day after 10 people died in the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, Republican Sen. John Kennedy thought comparing the problem to drunk driving would be an appropriate analogy.

“We have a lot of drunk drivers in America that kill a lot of people,” Kennedy said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control on Tuesday.

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The solution, he argued, isn’t to ban guns because some people use them to commit mass shootings any more than you’d suggest banning cars because drunk people drive.

“We ought to try to combat that, too,” he said. “But I think what many on my side of the aisle are saying is that the answer is not to get rid of all sober drivers.”

“The answer is to concentrate on the problem,” he continued. 

The committee meeting was already scheduled before a 21-year-old alleged gunman went into a supermarket in Boulder with an AR-15-style patrol rifle Monday night and killed 10 people. He targeted people in the parking lot, the aisles, and at least one person standing in line to receive a dose of a COVID vaccine, according to witnesses. 

The Boulder massacre comes a week after a 21-year-old in Atlanta spent less than an hour traveling around to three different massage parlors and opening fire. Eight people died, six of whom were Asian women.

Both shootings came up during Tuesday’s hearing, but the focus of the hearing was on gun control measures, like universal background checks and concealed carry laws.

Democrats on the committee strongly pushed for major gun law reform and bashed their colleagues across the aisle for sending “thoughts and prayers. Republicans continuously cited the sanctity of the Second Amendment.

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In an angry response to remarks denouncing gun violence from Democrats on the committee, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas condemned any thought of bolstering gun control measures. He closed his remarks by also moving the conversation away from the topic of gun violence and instead talked about his devout religious practices. 

“I don’t apologize for thoughts or prayers,” Cruz said. “I will lift up and pray for people who are hurting and I believe in the power of prayer.” 

For his part, Kennedy continued to defocus on the issue of gun control and instead spoke on “Muslim jihadists.”

“Many terrorists happen to be Muslims,” he said. “We’re often told not to condemn all of the actions of those of the Muslim faith because of the actions of a few.”

“So why doesn’t the same rule apply to the hundred million gun owners in America, who are exercising their constitutional right?” Kennedy continued.