A Republican from Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ home state of Arizona suggested Wednesday that the shooting rampage that injured Giffords and killed or wounded 19 others could have been stopped sooner had there been more armed people at the scene.
“I wish there had been one more gun there that day in the hands of a responsible person,” Rep. Trent Franks told reporters Wednesday when asked about calls for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shootings.
Franks, who is set to travel on Air Force One to Arizona with President Barack Obama later Wednesday, made the comments following a security briefing for Republican Members at the Capitol on Wednesday morning.
Joe Zamudio, who helped restrain 22-year-old suspect Jared Loughner at the scene of the shooting after Loughner was tackled by two other bystanders, said he had a gun that day and would have shot Loughner if the other bystanders had not taken him down, according to news reports.
Several lawmakers, including Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) have said they plan to carry guns in their districts in light of the shooting.
But other House Republicans aren’t planning on carrying guns in reaction to the Tucson shootings.
Rep. Kristi Noem, a freshman elected to leadership, said she will not carry a weapon.
“I won’t be doing that, but that’s ... everybody’s decision to make,” the South Dakota Republican said. “I have always felt safe in doing this job and will continue to meet with constituents.”
Still, Noem said she is reviewing whether any further security measures might need to be taken in her Congressional and district offices.
“We are new and just starting. We haven’t changed anything. We certainly are open to any recommendations they may have,” Noem said. “We certainly feel safe. We will continue to conduct business as usual.”
Rep. John Kline also said he won’t be carrying a gun. The Minnesota Republican, who has a concealed-weapon permit, said that is not his security plan.
“I don’t think that would be the solution,” Kline said. “That in itself is not the answer. You have to look at the overall security procedures that you are doing.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.