In response to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), if everyone had just prayed more, 19 children and two teachers won’t have been massacred by a gunman in a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school last month.
The House Oversight Committee held a hearing Wednesday on gun violence and heard testimony from survivors and families of victims from the Uvalde and Buffalo, Latest York, mass shootings. The speakers included an 11-year-old who covered herself in her friend’s blood and played dead as her classmates were killed.
Gohmert complained in a House floor speech that Democrats “sure don’t wish to hear any more about prayers” as an answer to the problem.
“They’re disgusted hearing about prayers,” he said.
“Look, possibly if we heard more prayers from leaders of this country as a substitute of taking God’s name in vain, we wouldn’t have the mass killings like we didn’t have before prayer was eliminated from school,” he added.
Scalise used the same line of reasoning in a news conference, arguing that “we had AR-15s within the Nineteen Sixties. We didn’t have those mass school shootings.”
“We actually had prayer in class during those days,” he said.
Gohmert: Perhaps if we heard more prayers from leaders on this country as a substitute of taking god’s name in vain, we wouldn’t have the mass killings like we didn’t have before prayer was eliminated from schools pic.twitter.com/vq1BQFzPkA
— Acyn (@Acyn) June 8, 2022
In “those days,” when school-sponsored prayers were still in motion, schools were hardly peaceful. Many faculties were still segregated, and there have been violent campaigns to maintain it that way.
In 1957, for instance ― five years before the Supreme Court struck down state-sponsored prayers in public schools in 1962 ― an all-white Nashville elementary school was bombed a day after a Black child was admitted. White church members had been leading a violent crusade to oppose the combination of town’s public schools.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapon ban that outlawed the AR-15 and similar semiautomatic rifles after an increase in mass shootings involving those kinds of firearms.
Mass shootings were down in the last decade that followed, compared with the last decade before and the last decade after.
Scalise and Gohmert are removed from the primary Republicans to cite a departure from Jesus as a contributor to rising gun violence. Also during Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) argued that guns had at all times been available within the U.S. but mass shootings were a more moderen phenomenon.
He correlated that with a “breakdown of the family,” “erosion of religion” and the proliferation of social media. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) argued last month that “we don’t need more gun control. We’d like to return to God.” And Oklahoma GOP Senate candidate Jackson Lahmeyer said after the Uvalde shooting it was time to arm teachers and “bring back prayer in our public schools.”
Other Western countries have grow to be increasingly secular without seeing increasing gun violence. In Australia, for instance, there hasn’t been a comparable mass shooting since 1996, when a massacre prompted mandatory gun buybacks to remove semi-automatic firearms from civilian possession.