Freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) acknowledged on Friday that Americans who support the Second Amendment should be concerned about Democrats’ calls to action in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings.
“Your nervousness about what could be implemented as a whole is certainly warranted,” Crenshaw told conservative commentator Dana Loesch while appearing on her podcast. “We’re listening to the Democratic debates every week and what they’re calling for is absolutely extreme.”
“Not only is it extreme and it infringes on the Second Amendment, but it also wouldn’t do what they think it will do,” he continued. “Whether it’s banning AR-15s or magazine capacity limits or whatever idea they have, it speaks to a misunderstanding about how guns actually work and more importantly, how the tactics of a mass shooting might work.”
“So, we of course have an understandable nervousness about that,” Crenshaw added.
The Texas lawmaker’s remarks were in response to two separate mass shootings carried out over the weekend. On Saturday, a gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas shopping center, murdering more than 20 individuals and injuring over two dozen others. Hours later, a second attacker took the lives of nine people and injured nearly 30 others after he gunned down people outside a Dayton, Ohio bar.
In the aftermath of the dual attacks, Democrats have urged Congress to enact strict anti-gun measures, including banning so-called “assault weapons,” implementing “universal” background checks, and some even going as far as to advocate for mandatory gun confiscation.
Crenshaw, however suggested passing the Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety Act, or TAPS Act (H.R. 838), which identifies potential behavioral threats to prevent targeted violence.
“The behavioral threat assessments we’re talking about have been in place for about 35 years at the federal level,” he explained. “All this bill is, is a grant program that allows local law enforcement to engage in that training and use those analytical tools.”
The former Navy SEAL is also open to the idea of “red flag” laws, which allow for temporary gun confiscation from individuals deemed a danger to oneself or others. However, he noted that any legislation enacting gun violence restraining orders should have “very, very stringent safeguards.”
Any red flag law should require multiple points of “clear and concise evidence” of a threat and punish individuals who report false claims, Crenshaw argued.
“This is where we should be having the discussion, this is why I said ‘maybe.’ I did not say I would be cosponsoring any legislation or writing any legislation on this,” Crenshaw said. “I certainly didn’t say that this should be something implemented at the federal level, mostly because a lot of criminal law is dictated at the state level and it’s unclear how the federal government would play a part in that.”
“We have to remember something that when we’re talking about an additional process like this, it still operates within the context of our current criminal justice system, which is an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ philosophy — that would never change,” he added. “And I understand that a lot of people feel like it would, but that’s just not true, nor should we let it be true.”