A Congressman in the United States is being slammed for downplaying gun violence in the US in the wake of several mass shooting incidents in the country, according to a report in Newsweek. Representative Clay Higgins made the remarks while speaking at the March 29 Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing. He went on the say that abortion kills more children annually than guns, the outlet further reported. Gun control is a major topic of discussion among both Democrats and Republicans, President Joe Biden too has made a pitch for stronger gun control laws after so many mass shooting incidents in the US.
"There's no such thing as gun violence. There's only human violence. It's intellectually unsound to state otherwise," the Republican leader said during the congressional hearing, according to a clip posted by him on Twitter. "And the number one cause of death for children in America remains abortion."
There's no such thing as gun violence, there's only human violence.... pic.twitter.com/zvhuJLAaPv— Rep. Clay Higgins (@RepClayHiggins) March 29, 2023
He cited Centers for Disease Control (CDC) numbers from 2020, saying there were more than 620,000 legally induced abortions in America in 2020. According to Mr Higgins, in the same year, 4,357 children died from either a firearm accidental discharge, suicide or homicide.
Huffpost said that Mr Higgins was criticising Democrats for repeatedly claiming that gun violence is the leading cause of death for children in the US.
As per the WONDER databased maintained by Centers for Disease Control (CDC), firearms accounted for nearly 19 per cent of children's deaths in 2021.
The Kaiser Family foundation too said that no large country had firearm deaths as one of the leading causes of death for children.
But Gary Kleck, an emeritus professor of criminology at Florida State University, told Newsweek that it is important to shift attention to factors that influence violence.
"There are factors that influence violence of all kinds, with or without guns, and it may be wise to shift our attention to those factors. Characterising crimes as 'gun violence' can subtly narrow our focus to just one contributing factor, gun availability. In light of the poor track record of past gun control efforts (e.g. the federal assault weapons ban), shifting the focus to other contributing factors could improve our chances to reduce violence," he said.
Social media users slammed Mr Higgins' statement. "There's no such thing as automobile accidents just human accidents, so there will be no further need for driving licenses, insurance, registration of the vehicle or any laws pertaining to owning and or operating a vehicle. Just another false equivalence," a user tweeted. "Then he's arguing humans shouldn't have guns?" asked another.
The debate is again in focus after a rampage on Monday at Nashville's Covenant School that left three children and three adults dead.
Police said they believe the shooter, a 28-year-old Nashville woman armed with at least two assault rifles and a handgun, was a former student at the school.