A Virginia lawmaker running in the Republican primary to challenge U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., outraged Democrats in the state legislature Friday with his fiery speech in support of the Second Amendment.
In response to recent attacks from Democrats on pro-gun Republicans, Delegate Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, asked his fellow lawmakers to have an "open and honest debate" on the factors that lead to mass shootings. Freitas noted that most mass shootings seem to occur in "gun-free zones" and that most mass shooters "come from broken homes."
"So when people on this side talk about the importance of the Second Amendment, please understand it's not just some base philosophical conviction that we all have," Freitas said. "It is rooted in the idea that while we may be a post-Enlightenment society, the vast majority of horrible atrocities we've seen have happened in those post-Enlightenment societies. It's happened as a result of government systematically disarming citizens and claiming themselves to be the sole responsible party for their security and then turning on those same citizens and punishing them."
"That's the most egregious cases, but in the individual cases of self-defense, that's why people on this side of the aisle hold the Second Amendment in such high esteem. Because we honestly believe that you have an inherent right to defend yourself. And your ability to defend yourself should not be excluded to your size."
Democrats in the chamber were not pleased with his speech, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Graham Moomaw.
Audible groans on Democratic side of the Va. House as Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, suggests "the abortion industr… https://t.co/lwSvW7DX3L— Graham Moomaw (@Graham Moomaw) 1520008693.0
More context for this: Freitas was saying cultural shifts that started in the 60's led to broken homes. Linked abor… https://t.co/k5tR5pDNyY— Graham Moomaw (@Graham Moomaw) 1520009738.0
Freitas said that Democrats are making an open debate on gun policy difficult by comparing Republicans to "Nazis" and "segregationists." He fought back, noting that it was the Democrats who were the party of slavery and segregation.
“I just want to remind everyone very quickly, it was not our [Republican] party that supported slavery, that fought women’s suffrage, that rounded up tens of thousands of Asian-Americans and put them in concentration camps, that supported Jim Crow, that supported segregation, supported mass resistance. That wasn’t our party, that was the Democrat party.”
Democrats were reportedly so upset that they asked for recess, while Freitas received cheers from Republicans.
House Dems seem genuinely stunned by these GOP gun speeches. Toscano asks for recess— Graham Moomaw (@Graham Moomaw) 1520009293.0
After Freitas's speech, Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, walked over to his desk for what looked like a tense convo— Graham Moomaw (@Graham Moomaw) 1520009852.0
Del Joseph Lindsey, D-Norfolk, says Freitas's speech may be the most offensive thing he's heard in his time in the… https://t.co/UJyZUh7FKF— Graham Moomaw (@Graham Moomaw) 1520010496.0
Freitas has earned a reputation in Virginia politics as an exceptional public speaker. This is not the first passionate speech he's delivered in the House of Delegates.
CRTV congressional correspondent Nate Madden contributed to this report.