Senator Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma) earlier this week joked about shooting some fellow lawmakers on the Senate floor as he expressed frustration with the way Congress has handled the U.S. economy.
Coburn was speaking as he traveled through northeastern Oklahoma on Tuesday and Wednesday. As first reported in Tulsa World, Coburn told an audience, “It’s just a good thing I can’t pack a gun on the Senate floor.” He also called his colleagues “a class of career elitists” and “cowards,” though he also described them as good people.
Coburn spokesman John Hart did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but he told CBS News the Oklahoma Republican was “obviously joking” when he made the remarks during public appearances in Oklahoma on Wednesday. Hart said Coburn would “personally apologize to any of his colleagues who were offended.”
Representative Carolyn McCarthy was outraged by Coburn’s comments.
Representative McCarthy: No Joking Matter
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), the leading gun control advocate in Congress, blasted Sen. Tom Coburn on Thursday for his “outrageous and unconscionable” comment that it’s “a good thing I can’t pack a gun on the Senate floor.”
“What Sen. Coburn said is absolutely outrageous and unconscionable,” McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son critically injured in a 1993 mass shooting on the Long Island Rail Road.
“Words matter and I don’t think any person who has been or knows a victim of gun violence would find this a laughing matter. Mr. Coburn should issue an apology immediately and be more conscious of the effect the things we say can have on the public,” she added.
Coburn Should Apologize
Given that almost 100,000 people in the U.S. are shot or killed by a gun every year, and in light of the fact that Representative Gabrielle Giffords is still recovering from an attempted assassination in January, Coburn’s comments are especially insensitive.
Yes, he needs to apologize.
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