There’s a new contender for most absurd GOP scapegoat for gun violence.
Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) was asked during an interview with Missouri radio station The Eagle 93.9 on Wednesday whether there was any appetite among Republicans in Congress to pursue changes to gun laws. It came in the wake of a gunman’s massacre of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
Long, who is running for the U.S. Senate, said guns aren’t the issue. He criticized proponents of gun control for “trying to blame an inanimate object for all of these tragedies.”
He said there are a few solutions but that the problem can be traced back to when abortion became legal nationwide.
“When I was growing up in Springfield, you had one or two murders a year,” he said. “Now we have two, three, four a week in Springfield, Missouri.
“So something has happened to our society. I go back to abortion, when we decided it was OK to murder kids in their mothers’ wombs. Life has no value to a lot of these folks.”
The data doesn’t support that claim. The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 established abortion rights in the U.S.
In 1970, 499 murders were reported in Missouri. in 1975, the figure was 505. And in 2019, 568 murders were reported in the state.
Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) blames gun violence on abortion: "Something has happened to our society. I go back to abortion, when we decided it was okay to murder kids in their mothers' wombs. Life has no value to a lot of these folks." pic.twitter.com/RHAjakjHiG
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) June 1, 2022
The data does show, however, that the gun problem in America is linked to the proliferation of guns and the ease at which people can obtain them. Other countries have had great success in curbing gun violence by tightening gun laws or banning guns and implementing gun buyback programs.
Semiautomatic assault rifles, the guns frequently used in mass shootings like the one last week in Uvalde, are also shown to be part of the problem. In 1994, sweeping legislation was passed that banned certain assault weapons. It expired in 2004. Mass shooting deaths were 70% less likely during the ban, one study found.
“If there was something that would work that would prevent some of these things, any reasonable person is going to look at anything like that,” Long said.
“But to this day and time, no one has been able to come up with any kind of a suggestion that would have helped in any of these situations.”
He proposed retrofitting schools with additional doors so that all classrooms had both entry and exit points. Classrooms without extra doors are just “killing zones,” he said. He suggested the money spent on foreign aid to Ukraine could have been used to do this.
Elected Republicans, many of whom receive significant campaign support from the gun lobby, have blamed just about everything but guns in the wake of a recent spate of mass shootings. The supposed culprits include “wokeness,” architecture and a departure from worshipping Jesus.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for example, thinks the issue is schools have too many doors.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.