On Friday's Morning Joe, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kans, said he doesn't think gun laws could have stopped the Newtown massacre, but maybe better parenting could have.
"What has bothered me the most as a representative is how this has been politicized so quickly that somehow if we had changed one single law—that as I understand it, the state of Connecticut had laws against these things," he said with a slight chuckle, "What we can all agree on is we've got a cultural problem!"
Huelskamp pointed to violent video games and poor parenting as the cause of the mass-shooting that left 20 first-grade schoolchildren dead.
"The kind of video games you just talked about, we don’t let him play that, let’s have them Moms and Dads of Americans stand up and actually take control of our children," he said of how he monitors his own son's video game usage. "We’ve got a mental illness issue here. But Washington has to recognize that there’s no simple solutions, this has been going on a long time."
But should the country have assault weapons, host Mika Brzezinski asked.
"Will that solve the problem? I don’t think so," Huelskamp said. "It’s not a gun problem, it’s a people problem. There’s been a lot of misleading statements on [guns] including those that are said right here [on Morning Joe.]"
"Do you think I have a constitutional right to have an assault weapon?" host Joe Scarborough asked "Is this a constitutional issue for you?"
"Let's not build on the tragedy to push a political issue," Huelskamp responded.
"Use that to push a political issue?!" Scarborough countered. "What was your feeling after Sept 11—were there changes made in this country because of the tragedy of Sept 11—was that just using a tragedy 3000 deaths to try and make Americans safer? Do you dare come on my show and say I am using the slaughter of 20 little six- and seven-year-old children, I'm using that for political purposes, Tim?"
"How many children do you have, Joe" Heulskamp countered.
"I have four children, Tim, answer my question," Scarborough said.
"So do I and I refuse to let you say because you have children or anybody else say that we need to politicize this, but I see folks in Washington trying to politicize this," the Kansas representative said.
"I'm not going to let you say that I'm trying to politicize this," Scarborough said. "Maybe some of us believe that we have to do whatever we can, whether it's looking at mental health, the culture of violence in video games and Hollywood, whether it's looking at the proliferation of these weapons...We can't at least talk about guns without you questioning my integrity?"
"Joe, you can talk about it all you want, I didn't say it was you politicizing it and you're not even a politician any more," Huelskamp said.
"But you can come on this show and say we've got to look at violent video games and a violent culture that Hollywood promotes, and that's not politicizing, but if we ever bring up guns, that's politicizing the deaths of 20 children?" Scarborough said.