NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — One New York congressman said he’s had enough about feeling defenseless against violence, and carrying a gun in public will be his answer from now on.
“On a rare occasion, I’d have my gun in the glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) during an interview with a Buffalo TV station following Wednesday’s shooting of a top Republican during a practice baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia.
House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise was left in critical condition after being shot by a gunman while practicing for an annual charity baseball game.
The shooting suspect, identified by law enforcement sources as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, died following a shootout with capitol police.
“While it is apparent that the shooter was a zealot with an intention to cause harm, it is important that we all be cognizant that our words have strong meaning,” Collin said in a statement. “It’s time for all of us, including myself, to tone down our rhetoric and recognize that we are all of one country and all proud Americans.”
The incident highlighted how vulnerable Congress members are when in public. Only the leaders of Congress get security details; rank-and-file members do not.
“Today’s attack on Whip Steve Scalise, members of Congress, the Capitol Police, and congressional aides is absolutely devasting,” Collins said. “For those injured, we all send our prayers for a speedy recovery. If it weren’t for the brave men and women of the Capitol Police, this attack would have resulted in an even greater tragedy and I, along with my colleagues, are thankful for their service.”
Two members of the Capitol Police were injured along with a congressional aide and a lobbyist. The assailant died after the incident.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)