Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in a radio interview on Wednesday suggested “many of the people” who commit mass killings are Democrats.
Tenney was interviewed Wednesday morning by Fred Dicker on his “Focus On The State Capitol” radio show, discussing the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people. The shooting has re-ignited a nationwide debate over gun control and a push for stronger background checks of those who buy firearms.
In the interview, Tenney said it was unfair that legal gun owners would face the brunt of any effort to crack down on firearms.
“I think the government really made a mistake in this area,” she said. “That’s what scares me most. A lot of legal gun owners are going to be targeted now.”
When Dicker mentioned gun crimes in urban areas, Tenney said of the gun control debate that “there’s a lot of politics in it.
“It’s interesting that so many of the people who end up committing mass murders end up being Democrats,” she said. “But the media doesn’t want to talk about that, either.”
The comment in the interview went largely unremarked on for most of Wednesday until it was highlighted by Binghamton radio host Bob Joseph on Twitter. The comment itself comes at around 33:40 in the interview, which can be listened to here.
Tenney responded later with this statement:
"I am fed up with the media and liberals attempting to politicize tragedies and demonize law-abiding gun owners and conservative Americans every time there is a horrible tragedy. While we know the perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views, my comments are in response to a question about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime. I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists."
It’s not clear which incident or incidents Tenney referred to in the interview. Last year, James Hodgkinson, a left-wing activist, opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for an upcoming congressional baseball game, seriously injuring GOP Rep. Steve Scalise and several others. Hodgkinson was the only person killed at the scene.
Tenney, a former state lawmaker elected to Congress in 2016, is facing a challenge from Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi this year in what is expected to be a top-tier battleground race for the 22nd Congressional District.
In a statement from his campaign, Brindisi said "This toxic rhetoric is shameful coming from an elected official and is a new low even for Claudia Tenney. She has disrespected the office she holds. Inserting politics into a national tragedy is beyond the pale and disgusting. She should apologize immediately to spare our region any more national embarrassment."