House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), a congressional staffer and two Capitol Police officers were shot early Wednesday morning when a lone gunman opened fire on Republican congressman practicing for the annual congressional baseball game.
And it took just a little more than an hour after news of the shooting broke for one political commentator to begin politicizing the brazen attack.
David Frum, who works for The Atlantic, tweeted at 8:50 a.m. EDT:
No background checks
No permit req’d for concealed carry of long guns
Open carry long guns & handguns
— David Frum (@davidfrum) June 14, 2017
The tweet came as the story was breaking on news stations across the country, a time when almost zero details were known about the shooter, what happened, let alone what type of weapon was used.
The implication of Frum’s tweet was to push his belief that adequate gun control measures don’t already exist, therefore increased control measures need to be implemented.
Not only that, but Frum’s tweet wasn’t factually correct. For example, Frum’s tweet implied that Virginians can legally purchase firearms, both handguns and long guns, without a background check. This is not true.
To purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer in Virginia, citizens are required by law to fill out state and federal forms before the dealer runs a quick background check. The firearm is only released once the transaction is complete, the paperwork is signed and the background check proves the purchaser is legally eligible to be in possession of a firearm.
Indeed, Frum was mostly correct in stating citizens don’t need a license to purchase a gun in Virginia, however, a permit to conceal carry a firearm is required. There is also no gun registry in Virginia, and there is no such thing as a concealed carry permit for long guns.
Needless to say, Frum was strongly rebuked by many on Twitter for his insistence to talk about guns in the wake of the attack, in addition to his factual errors:
There are background checks in Virginia, and you don’t don’t “concealed carry” long guns. Why do you never do any research?
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) June 14, 2017
You are an idiot-background checks are required and I’m certain we will find out that the shooter is a liberal Democrat from another state
— Tony Shaffer (@T_S_P_O_O_K_Y) June 14, 2017
The award for first person to politicize this on my timeline goes to you David Frum, congratulations!
— TVIsGreat Ryan (@tvisgreat) June 14, 2017
Not only grossly inappropriate, but also factually false. Shame. https://t.co/HNOBJB9pt3
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 14, 2017
Virginia has background checks, moron. And how do you "concealed carry" a rifle? https://t.co/4QDBCiLvJt
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) June 14, 2017
VA has background checks & you can't conceal a long gun, but don't let facts stop you from bathing in others' blood. https://t.co/WeQA7uDm7z
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) June 14, 2017
This is disgusting and false. Virginia has background checks. There is no "concealed carry of long guns," moron. It's a long gun. https://t.co/atcKW13wOU
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) June 14, 2017
We have background checks.
And how does one conceal carry a long gun? https://t.co/zSzdjnwodK
— RBe (@RBPundit) June 14, 2017
Frum describes himself as a conservative Republican who supported former President Ronald Reagan. However, he has assumed a position on firearms that is far from conservative, and he often reiterates calls for increased gun control.
However, Frum wasn’t the only gun control advocate to quickly push for increased gun control.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said during a law enforcement news conference around 10:30 a.m. ET that America needs to take action and enact more gun control measures.
“I have long advocated — this is not what today is about — but there are too many guns on the streets. We lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence. I have long talked about this. Background checks and shutting down gun show loopholes, and that’s not for today’s discussion, but it’s not just about politicians. We worry about this every day for all of our citizens,” McAuliffe said at the news conference.
Others shared their advocacy and politicized thoughts on Twitter:
So how many shootings until we do something about it?
¿Cuantos tiroteos necesitamos para hacer algo al respecto?
— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) June 14, 2017
So Congress will meet soon and vote on a gun control proposal to stop shootings, massacres and to keep us all safe, right?
— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) June 14, 2017
If the shooter has a serious health condition then is taking potshots at the GOP house leadership considered self defense?
— Malcolm Harris (@BigMeanInternet) June 14, 2017
So Rep. Steve Scalise, who once spoke at a white supremacist event sponsored by David Duke (google it) was SHOT today in Alexandria.
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) June 14, 2017
The early reports indicate that Wednesday’s alleged shooter is 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. He was allegedly a democratic socialist and opposed to President Donald Trump.
Trump said at a news conference Wednesday that the assailant had died from injuries sustained when Capitol Police, who were part of Scalise’s security detail, engaged him.