Fox News anchor confronts GOP’s Mo Brooks with gun reform poll data

Fox News anchor Sandra Smith confronted Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, with poll data showing a slim majority of Americans want stricter gun laws during a Sunday interview — as GOP lawmakers weighed the importance of the Second Amendment of the touted the constitution.

A mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday killed 19 students and two educators. In the wake of the horrific violence, Democrats and some Republican lawmakers have called for gun reform to prevent future tragedies. Meanwhile, strong Second Amendment supporters like Brooks have largely blamed a mental health crisis and poor moral standards in the nation, and have resisted proposals for tougher gun laws.

In conversation with Fox News Sunday moderated by Smith, Brooks again promoted this perspective when the journalist cited poll data and questioned him about possible reforms he would support.

“The minimum age in your state to purchase an AR-15 like the one used by the school gunner at Uvalde is 18 years old. There is no waiting period between buying a firearm and handing it over to the buyer. There is no license to sell ammunition. Gallup finds that a majority of Americans, 52 percent, support stricter gun laws when it comes to firearm sales,” Smith told lawmakers.

Sandra Smith and Mo Brooks
Fox News anchor Sandra Smith confronts Alabama GOP rep Mo Brooks in an interview on Fox News Sunday with poll data showing a majority of Americans want tougher gun laws.
Screenshot/Fox News Sunday

“So what do you say to the majority of Americans who think like this?” the Fox News host then asked.

The Republican from Alabama responded that he didn’t think the poll data accurately reflected what Americans think. “For example, I suspect the people interviewed were not properly explained what the purpose of the Second Amendment is to bear arms,” ​​he said.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution states: “A well-regulated militia, necessary to the security of a free State, shall not violate the right of the people to possess and bear arms.” Arms reform advocates often argue that the first part of the amendment about a “regulated militia” is no longer valid because the US now has a strong and well-trained military.

The GOP lawmaker went on to say that as a kid he “often” went to school with a shotgun in his car. “Why? Because I just finished duck hunting,” he said, adding that there were other teenagers like him at the time who were bringing guns to school.

“Back when I was growing up, we didn’t have these mass killings,” Brooks continued. “They were not there. They didn’t perform. Or if they were, I certainly wasn’t aware of them and they were very, very rare – so rare that I can’t recall a single instance of these things happening during my youth.”

The Republican congressman argued that mass shootings in schools are “much more common” today because “moral values ​​are falling, respect for human life is falling.” He said young people need to be taught better moral values ​​”properly” and that the country also needs to address “mental health issues”.

“That’s the way to solve the problem,” he concluded.

Smith continued her questioning, citing remarks Brooks made last week in which he accused “liberal politics.”

“What happened in Texas is appalling and poorly reflects liberal policies that promote extramarital births, divorce, single parenthood and amoral values ​​that undermine respect for life,” he said in a statement to the Alabama Political Reporter. When he was contacted for further comment on Sunday, a Brooks spokesperson emailed news week the same statement.

“Does this statement, sir, blame single parent households for the increase in mass shootings in this country?” Smith asked the GOP lawmaker.

“Absolutely not. It blames the decline of moral values ​​in the United States of America,” he replied. He said there are many contributing factors, citing “every study” he’s ever seen that shows kids who come from single parents don’t do as well when they grow up.

Smith appeared to be citing a Gallup poll published in October 2021. That poll showed, she said, that 52 percent of Americans supported stricter gun laws. Only 11 percent thought gun laws should be less strict, while 35 percent thought gun laws were fine the way they are.

A similar poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in April 2021 returned roughly the same results. That poll found that 53 percent of Americans thought stricter gun laws were a good idea. About a third (32 percent) thought gun laws were largely in order, and 14 percent said they should be less strict.

While Brooks and many Republicans are broadly opposed to most or all gun reform proposals, some GOP lawmakers have indicated they are open to change. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, assigned Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn to negotiate with Democrats last week to find a possible compromise on the issue.

“I’m confident we can find a bipartisan solution,” McConnell said Thursday. Fox News anchor confronts GOP’s Mo Brooks with gun reform poll data

Rick Schindler

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