Local congressmen prefer delay on discussion of gun-related legislation

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 6, 2017

SALISBURY — Now isn’t the time to discuss major gun control policy proposals, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd said Thursday.

Four days after the mass shooting that killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds in Las Vegas, Budd, R-13, said many facts about the case remain unclear. As a result, it’s too early to call for changes in the nation’s gun laws, Budd said in response to questions from the Salisbury Post.

The shooting has stoked a national debate about whether gun control measures could prevent future mass shootings.

“Too often, the conversation around these attacks shifts away from the hurting families and the fallen victims and towards scoring political points,” said Budd, who ran a gun store before being elected to Congress.

Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, expressed similar sentiments. First and foremost, Hudson said, people should pray for the Las Vegas victims fighting for their lives in hospitals. Debates about mass shootings and gun violence should include questions of culture and mental health, he said.

“The solution to this tragedy is not taking away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Hudson said. “A knee-jerk reaction for more gun control laws that would not have prevented the tragedy and do nothing to address the root cause of violence will only infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Hudson said he will support policies that “strengthen our Second Amendment rights” and also “crack down on criminals.”

Meanwhile, Democrats recently introduced proposals that include banning the sale of “bump stocks,” which allows semi-automatic weapons to fire at a faster rate. The gunman in the Las Vegas shooting reportedly used a “bump stock.”

Rep. Alma Adams, who represents most of Mecklenburg County, is among the Democrats who supports the measure. In a news release Thursday, she announced her support for banning “bump stocks” because of the Las Vegas shooting.

“We owe it to the victims of this heinous crime and others to close this loophole and address the many others that exist in our nation’s gun laws,” Adams said.

In an emailed statement, Budd did not answer questions about policy proposals. However, he said gun violence in society has many roots, including a “badly failing mental health system,” increasing social separation and declining rates of religious affiliation.

“The rush to take away Americans’ Second Amendment rights is ill-conceived,” Budd said. “Research indicates common gun control proposals do not solve the problems facing our society. … Until we have all the facts, our focus should be on enforcing the laws that are on the books.”

In his statement, Hudson did not specifically mention any gun-related proposals he would support. Earlier this year, however, he introduced a measure that would allow people with a state-issued license or permit to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that allows the practice.

Hudson spokesman Tatum Gibson noted other measures the congressman has supported, including the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.

The measure, which received overwhelming bipartisan support en route to becoming law, implemented a number of changes, including eliminating a 190-day lifetime cap on inpatient psychiatric hospitalization in Medicare if it is cost-effective and increasing funding for assisted outpatient treatment allocated to states.

Contact Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.