Few people understand the terrors of gun violence as intimately as Gabrielle Giffords does. And yet, one Republican seemed to believe that she’s merely a prop in the gun control debate.
Rep. Joe Heck made the eyebrow-raising remarks during an interview with conservative radio host Alan Stock.
Stock declared it was “nauseating” that Obama brought up Giffords—the former Arizona Congresswoman who survived being shot in the head by a disturbed gunman in 2011—during his State of the Union speech.
The host said Giffords “can’t even clap her hands…I think it’s a shameful act putting her up there as a prop.”
The Nevada lawmaker didn’t seem to be bothered. “I agree,” Heck said. “In the cloud of emotion that surrounding the unfortunate incident in Connecticut and those that are anti-gun want to use that as their opportunity to try to limit our Second Amendment rights.”
Heck seemed to backtrack during a meeting with the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal after the remarks.
He said he was agreeing with Stock on the “gun grab” coming out of Washington, and not necessarily the part about Giffords.
“Do I think Gabby Giffords is a prop? Of course not,” Heck said. “The fact (is) that she is out there now talking about personal experience and what she thinks needs to happen. She is not being used as a prop. She is doing this of her own volition.” During that meeting he also made additional news, saying he would back universal background checks on guns.
This isn’t the first time a GOPer is coming under fire for insensitive remarks about Giffords, who along with her husband, is pushing for gun control measures.
In January, Connecticut State Rep. DebraLee Hovey took to Facebook to tell Giffords—who visited Newtown after the horrific shooting there—to “stay out of my towns.” She later apologized.