Gun control advocates were quick to call for a clampdown on firearms following news of a shooting near the campus of Texas A&M University today. Speaking with Fox News soon after news of the shooting broke, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, sitting alongside Florida Gov. Rick Scott, seemed to suggest that gun ownership was a states’ rights issue, saying:
When it gets back to this issue of taking guns away from law abiding citizens and somehow know this will make our country safer, I don’t agree with that. I think most people in Texas don’t agree with that, and that is a state by state issue frankly that should be decided in the states and not again a rush to Washington, D.C. to centralize the decision making, and them to decide what is in the best interest for the citizens and the people of Florida and Texas. That’s for the people of these states to decide.
ThinkProgress interpreted Perry’s remark as a break with the National Rifle Association (but somehow overlooked any mention of the Second Amendment).
— Think Progess Feed (@ThinkProgressFD) August 13, 2012
Politico, meanwhile, rushed out word that Perry had defended gun ownership, referring to Perry’s next line: “Texans, I will suggest to you, by and large a majority of them, a large majority of them, believe that law-abiding men and women should be able to have their weapons.”
After Texas A&M shooting, Perry backs gun rights: http://t.co/wKa454cL
— POLITICO (@politico) August 13, 2012
So, was Perry actually suggesting that the Second Amendment was moot and individual states should be able to ban gun ownership, or was he simply rejecting the idea of federal gun control? As the ThinkProgress tweet spread, many gun control advocates welcomed their new if unlikely ally.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (Republican) wants guns banned after shooting today. I'm telling u gun laws will change once the body count increases
— Sandra Rose (@SandraRose) August 13, 2012
When Rick Perry suggests that gun bans might be a good idea, you know it’s time for stricter gun regulation. Perry is basically Yosemite Sam
— kombucha mother (@ActionAlan) August 13, 2012
WHAT?? | Rick Perry Breaks With The NRA, Suggests States Should Be Allowed To Ban Guns http://t.co/4D8dHTuT
— Reenie (@Reenie_2) August 13, 2012
— helen r starr (@helenrstarr) August 13, 2012
@IdioticInuit @NilamAtodaria I saw Rick Perry said today that states should be able to ban guns.. wish he'd said that in GOP Nom race!!
— Michael (@MikeEakins) August 13, 2012
Followers of Politico from both sides of the gun control debate jumped on Perry.
Rick Perry speaks out against gun control after a shooting at his alma mater, what a clown
— Sammy (@SDAIV) August 13, 2012
— Drew Davis (@drewdavis99) August 13, 2012
— Vance Gatlin (@VanceGatlin) August 13, 2012
The governor tweeted his thoughts and prayers from his personal account soon after.
Thoughts & prayers are with those impacted by shootings near A&M. Ever thankful for officers who daily sacrifice to keep us from harm.
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) August 13, 2012
When the same brief video clip has both Second Amendment backers and gun control advocates angry, though, perhaps some clarification is in order.