In the wake of a mass shooting across West Texas on Saturday, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-CA, mocked armed civilians for not stopping the tragedy.
Swalwell, a vocal proponent of gun control and former 2020 presidential hopeful, tweeted out a response on Sunday to a social media commenter who suggested open carry would stop mass shootings.
A United States representative mocking the deaths of Americans.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) September 1, 2019
“Big shout out to all the civilian ‘good guys with guns’ who saved lives in Odessa. You know who you are. Thanks a million,” the California lawmaker quipped. “*btw, Texas IS an open carry state.”
Twitter users were divided on Swalwell’s message. Some expressed support for the sentiment.
Others responded with instances where “good guys with guns” had stopped shootings.
And still other users slammed Swalwell for remarks characterized as “insensitive.”
Wow, what an insensitive remark. I would think politicians would be held to a higher standard. Although, I will agree with one thing. I bet this guy didn't cross paths with a single good guy with a gun. We need far more good guys with guns to make sure that doesn't happen again.
— TheYankeeMarshal (@YankeeMarshal) September 1, 2019
“You know that it was good guys with guns, specifically police, who stopped the Odessa murderer, right?” tweeted conservative writer David Thornton.
Eric Swalwell and the gun control debate
Swalwell’s hardline stances on gun control have earned him the ridicule of pro-Second Amendment conservatives. Last year, he earned the ire of many gun rights advocates when he promoted a controversial proposal to ban “assault weapons,” start a federally funded buyback program and threatened to prosecute gun owners who refused to give up their firearms.
“Reinstating the federal assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004 would prohibit manufacture and sales, but it would not affect weapons already possessed. This would leave millions of assault weapons in our communities for decades to come,” Swalwell wrote in an October USA Today op-ed. “Instead, we should ban possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons, we should buy back such weapons from all who choose to abide by the law, and we should criminally prosecute any who choose to defy it by keeping their weapons.”
Swalwell reiterated later that he would support jailing gun owners who failed to comply with his buyback programs, even joking that the federal government could “nuke” gun owners that refuse to participate.
The congressman’s comments piqued the attention of NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, who challenged Swalwell to a debate on gun confiscation policy in April. He declined, saying he would instead be willing to debate then-NRA president Oliver North.
👋🏼 Ms. Loesch — I see you’ve spent another day blowing up my Twitter. Thank you for following! But here’s the deal, you’re an @nra mouthpiece. I don’t aim down, so I don’t debate mouthpieces. But send me your president, @OliverLNorth. I’ll debate him anywhere. #EnoughIsEnough https://t.co/hu6eVkMIuL
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) April 19, 2019
Swalwell announced last month that he would be ending his presidential bid after never polling above 1 percent in a state or national survey.