Rep. Mike Pence called it a “slippery slope” to connect guns at political rallies with the Tucson shootings over the weekend that included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head. Pence referenced “the heat of the debate over the war in Iraq, when I saw people gathering on the national mall and waving placards that spoke strong opposition to the Bush administration.”
“All of that is what freedom is all about,” he said.
On C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, Pence was asked by a caller why he had “no problem with” protesters showing up armed to political events, including one August 2009 Obama event in Phoenix where a man came carrying an assault rifle.
Pence said he remembered the reports of firearms being brought to rallies, but “personally never witnessed that.”
He said that “we enter on to a very slippery slope if we buy into the attempt to assign blame for last Saturday’s unspeakable violence anywhere but on the individual who was to blame.”
My experience whether it was at town hall meetings or Tea Party rallies or national gatherings — my experience back in the heat of the debate over the war in Iraq, when I saw people gathering on the national mall and waving placards that spoke strong opposition to the Bush administration — I walked down the hallway to foreign affairs committee hearings and heard people hurl epithets at me because of my support for the war in Iraq. All of that is what freedom is all about. And the right to peaceably assemble is not simply limited to the right to peaceably assemble in quiet and thoughtful ways.
“Americans have a constitutional right,” he said to “stand up and tell off those in power.”
h/t Media Matters.