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.

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Photo Credit: Medill DC via Creative Commons


Bill B.
Bill B6 years ago

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.

Michael R.
Michael R.6 years ago

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.

Jan W.
Jan W6 years ago

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.

Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

The Republican methods include intimidation.

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

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

Alexandra O.
Alex O6 years ago

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.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams6 years ago

So sad in so many ways . . . .

Jeffrey W.
Jeffrey W6 years ago

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

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

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.

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K6 years ago

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.