START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
1,280,537 people care about Politics

Tom Coburn “Jokes” About Shooting Senate Colleagues

Tom Coburn “Jokes” About Shooting Senate Colleagues


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.

“Obviously Joking”?

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.

Related Stories

What’s Next For Gabrielle Giffords?

Post-Giffords Shooting, Efforts To Debate Gun Control Law

Debt Ceiling Compromise Grim With Coburn Out

Read more: , , , ,

Photo Credit: Medill DC via Creative Commons

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
3:22PM PDT on Aug 21, 2011

The people who aren't "getting it" are the ones who say, "Oh, it's just a joke." or "It was just an off-the-cuff remark." Really? The guy was speaking to an audience. He was making a speech. It was official planned staged event, not a private, informal gathering of friends. Such comments are (or should be) well thought-out in advance.

Do you people want to find out just how serious mere words can be? Joke or make an off-the-cuff comment about having a bomb or intended to hijack a plane the next time you're on board. If a nervous passenger or flight attendant or air marshall is within earshot, you can begin planning on whining to your soon-to-be-met cellmate about how "those people" can't take a joke.

When you are in public, everyone (including politicians making speeches) needs to use their brains for something more than mere spacing for their ears.

7:56PM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

It was an insensitive comment. But it was the kind of off the cuff remark I hear all the time. In real life, on tv ect. And I've heard a lot worse actual threats on here.

8:15AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

Coburn may have intended it to be a joke but with a couple of decades of gun massacres like Columbine and recently with Rep Giffords where gun threats and violent rantings were ignored and people died, it is any wonder that the joke isn't funny anymore?

There are too many unbalanced people out there that would make that comment their manifesto to go kill another public figure. Leaders should lead. Coburn doesn't have a clue.

8:05AM PDT on Aug 20, 2011

The Republican methods include intimidation.

10:18PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Joke? did someone tell a joke? my humor detector didn't pick up a thing....

6:21PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

While I somewhat understand why people are screaming for an apology, the other side of me is laughing because you'd have to be an idiot to not read between the lines on his comment. Also, who doesn't agree that our government has done an absolutely horrible job at resolving our most important issues? With that in mind, it has crossed my mind to go postal on some of these fat, sweaty politicians that have not a clue about what most of us "normal, everyday" people need and want. I've always taken pride in the fact that I'm from a country that's the strongest single democracy in the world but not anymore. America has become the laughing stock of all others for one simple reason, the powers-that-be can't seem to run a country with any success nor do those in charge have any idea or much less care what it would involve to take care of those that need it the most. So when someone makes a comment that most of us have at the least thought about ourselves, I can, without hesitation, let it go-we have much more important things to worry about and deal with.

3:12PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

So sad in so many ways . . . .

3:07PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

America needs to learn how to take a joke. Grow up.

2:04PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Judy My remark was off the cuff, it may look stupid to you but at least I didn't do RESEARCH to look stupid like you did. Next time, you should just copy and paste your "research" instead of trying to interpret it between chugs of Kool-ade.

1:35PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

Judy M., it is a shame that people like you with no knowledge and certainly no common sense, still have the right to vote. The same right that sane people have.

Too bad you don't have to pass a test, you would certainly fail.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Good for New York and the Governor.

sorry,too tired to say anymore than well done,that man;signed

Poachers are horrific, savage criminals -- their killings are immoral, they're so cruel, they're unconscionable…

meet our writers

Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK


Civil Rights


Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights


Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.