MSNBC news anchor Katy Tur pressed a guest during her show on Thursday about whether Republican lawmakers should be held responsible for gun deaths amid news of a school shooting that was happening at the time in Santa Clarita, California.
“You were just speaking about senators not showing the courage to put their seats at risk to pass common-sense gun reform, background checks, etc.,” Tur asked Ret. Special Agent Jim Cavanaugh with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “Would you go so far as to hold them responsible for the deaths that are continuing, the lives that are continuing to be lost with gun violence?”
“I clearly do. All leaders have a responsibility to act responsibly to help the citizens and it is not responsible to block a debate or to block a vote and that is what’s happening,” Cavanaugh replied. “That is totally irresponsible, that’s not leadership, it shows no leadership integrity, it is done to protect their seats. They don’t want to have to vote on the bill because they are afraid in their state or district, their constituents won’t like the way the vote may turn out.”
Earlier in the interview, Cavanaugh accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of being too scared to bring a variety of Democrat-backed bills that would enact strict gun control legislation onto the Senate floor for a vote, claiming that Republicans’ seemingly unpopular positions would put them in jeopardy of losing their seats.
“I would say to Mitch McConnell ‘ok boomer, put the bills on the floor — why are you afraid to let the bills be voted on and debated on the floor of the Senate?'” Cavanaugh said. “That’s the most un-American thing that I can think of.”
“Soldiers will risk their lives to save children, policemen will, firemen will, but senators won’t risk their seat to save the children’s lives,” he continued. “That is really disgraceful.”
McConnell, conversely, has put forth that he would hold a vote on the legislation if any of the bills would ultimately be signed by President Donald Trump.
“If the president is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly, and I know that if we pass it, it will become law, I’ll put it on the floor,” McConnell said in September.
However, the overwhelming majority of the rank-and-file Republicans in the Senate are staunch advocates of the Second Amendment, and, accordingly, many of the anti-gun bills that Democrats have passed in the House are unlikely to gain much traction and advance through the upper legislative chamber.
As Cavanaugh talked to Tur, the active shooter situation at Saugus High School was still occurring and little in the way of details had thus far been released by authorities — including who the gunman was, the motivation behind the spree, or how the firearm in question was obtained. Accordingly, it is not clear whether any of the pending legislation would have had any direct impact on the Santa Clarita school shooting.