Scalise, Stoneman Douglas Students Discuss Shared Experiences
WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) joined CBS This Morning today to discuss his meeting with students from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School and the advice he shared with them on healing from this tragedy. He also expressed his concerns with failures in the existing system designed to prevent these events and encouraged the Senate to pass the Fix NICS Act and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act as the House passed last year to address these concerns.
Click here to watch the interview.
On his meeting with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students:
"We talked about policy, but really, we talked a lot about shared experience. Obviously, it got very emotional. Some of the things that they've been through are similar to some of the things that I’ve been through. It's going to be a tough time for them. It already is. You know, this doesn't go away. It's something that me and the other members of the Congressional baseball team still talk a lot about––what we went through. I'm sure they as students are going to continue talking about what they went through. We did talk again about some policy, but mostly just about where we are right now."
"What I shared with them is obviously, what they're doing up here is very important. I think it's great that they are engaging in the political process. When they go back home, they're going to be high school students again. At some point, they're going to be getting on with their daily lives and this is going to still be lingering with them. The problems that they're going to be facing, they ought to be talking amongst themselves. I'm sure there will be school-appointed counselors. But the fact that these students all went through this together, they should continue talking to each other. Don't go hide in the corner and repress those feelings because months later it could become a bigger issue. Talk through that experience. That's what we do up here and it's helped all of us on the baseball team get through this. They ought to be doing the same thing."
On Congress's action to close loopholes:
"We have some breakdowns at the federal and local level in law enforcement. Clearly, a lot of us have serious questions about the FBI and why this wasn't stopped in the first place when they had this kid handed to them on a silver platter months ago. "
"And look, millions of people have weapons like the AR-15 and use them to defend themselves. They have it for self-defense, which is the tenet of the Second Amendment, so that's one of the things that you've got to balance when you're looking at change in laws. You’ve got to recognize, number one, in cases like this shooting and so many others, multiple laws were already broken, but worse than that, big signs were missed in many cases by government itself. The fact that government missed so many of the signs and didn't do the things that they should have done to protect people is one of the reasons that people feel they have a need to protect themselves and their family. "
"You know, again, that's not one of the big discussions here. Closing problems with the loopholes, especially with the instant background check system. We passed a bill in the House called Fix NICS, which a lot of people are rallying around, that closes a lot of those loopholes with the instant background check system. That's a bill that passed the House. It was tied to conceal carry reciprocity, something that’s been proven to actually increase safety. That’s one of the things we sent over to the Senate. The Senate's looking at a different version of that bill. They haven't passed anything yet on their side, but that is a bill that has passed the house."
"Again, you can talk about any one weapon, and if you ban that weapon, does that mean that nothing else is going to happen? I think if you look, I was fortunate in my case that I had law enforcement there on the scene who acted accordingly and took down the shooter. I wish that would have happened at the school where clearly there was at least one law enforcement officer on the scene who hid instead of confronting the shooter. Maybe there were more. I think that needs to come out, and when was that known. I think those are the kind of things that we want to know when we say, before people go changing laws to take away the rights of law-abiding citizens, let's get the facts and see if other people didn't do their job in enforcing existing law. That's what angers so many people. That existing laws are broken, and that people want to change other laws that infringe on law-abiding citizens."