Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK) joined Brian Kilmeade to discuss the renewed calls for gun control in the aftermath of the Las Vegas mass shooting. Russell, who is the only gun manufacturer in congress, believes we should look at the facts and have a discussion on gun legislation but believes the greater issue is protecting our constitutional freedoms and making sure we don't assume gun owners are guilty before proven innocent.
Listen here for the full interview
Congressman Russell on if he is nervous President Trump might try to push emotional gun legislation after the Las Vegas mass shootings
(Kilmeade) Are you nervous the President might go for some type of emotional gun legislation?
(Russell) I think the president is correct that we should deliberate on the issue you know had the fact that he said we need to we need to look at the facts you know through the statements that Sarah Sanders made, we need to gather the facts and then you know how can we know what laws are effective what laws are not. How do we, the greater issue of protecting our constitutional freedoms all of that requires deliberation and I'm already working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and doing just that so that we can examine the issue. Now here's what we know ,the individual apparently from the facts that we have purchased the firearms legally he used bump stock to achieve an automatic fire effect which you know these devices don't make for very well aimed rifles but at that same time when you're shooting into a crowd that didn't much matter. So you know we have we have to look at all of the facts and part of that Brian is okay just like with terrorism when we wanted to deal with terrorism we looked at who would be the perpetrators, how can they hurt us and what can the public do to protect itself. We have to approach this problem in the same way. Who are these people that end up causing mass harm how can they hurt us and then what can the public do as a collective response? It's not just about devices or gun laws I mean it take Sweden for example, they have total gun control in that country and yet you had a mass murder of seventy seven individuals nearly all of them children a few adults mixed in and see what happened in London.
Congressman Russell on if he is open to banning devices that turn semi-automatic firearms into automatic firearms
(Russell) I think we have to examine them absolutely because you know what we don't want to do is see semi-automatic rifles in one pull one shot which constitute ninety plus percent of firearms that the American public owns with both rifles and pistols you know we're not going to you know eliminate and do something or even support anything that's going to eliminate the right to keep and bear firearms semi-automatic firearms, military style firearms, none of those types of laws would have had any effect but what we do need to look at is like the ATF has done in the past, mechanical devices that create a full auto effect they have had the cases where they maybe something got introduced on the market and then later it was deemed illegal. I can cite you several examples of that I don't know but I think we ought to have the discussion.
Congressman Russell on whether the gun laws that allowed Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock to legally purchase 33 firearms in last 12 months should be changed
(Russell) You know when it certainly something we could examine but I tell you, the criteria for automatic criminality you would have to put me in prison. You know you have a lot of firearms collectors that are out there they both trade and sell and will purchase firearms on a regular basis because they're collectors. You know it's no different from sports cars or different things that you might have you can have fast sports cars.
(Kilmeade) Would you be open to a situation Steve where I go congressman this is your 30th rifle this year and have your explanation be I'm a collector this is what I'm doing. Do you think there could be that interaction we get with the TSA?
(Russell) I think we have to be very careful before we characterize the American public as guilty first and then have them have to defend their innocence. You know it's the same way Brian in say the First Amendment when we had the first amendment freedom of speech no one could have imagined that the first amendment laws would apply to Facebook and somebody staging their own kidnapping and then going to jail because they staged that using medium. So you got to examine things as technologies advance we're open to that however we I know me personally and many of my colleagues we are not open to assuming that the American gun owning public is guilty first and then they have to prove their innocence that's a nonstarter.