Gohmert apologizes for shooting remarks
July 23, 2012 at 11 p.m.
The congressman for Northeast Texas issued an apology during the weekend over comments he made on a conservative radio show that were pounced on by critics and media outlets.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, said in a clarification Saturday that his comments linking the shootings in Aurora, Colo., with the country's moral fitness had been taken out of context. Gohmert had been a guest the previous morning on, "Istook Live," a Heritage Foundation broadcast. He was not available for comment Monday, his public information officer said.
"The killings were a senseless, outrageous act," Gohmert wrote Saturday. "Our thoughts and prayers continue for all those involved, and I am very sorry if my comments caused heartache to anyone so tragically affected."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who on Friday called for more gun control, described Gohmert's remarks as "nonsensical."
Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Bill Brannon accused the Republican of casting Texas in a bad light.
"Instead of working on behalf of the people of Tyler, Gohmert keeps shining an embarrassing light on Texas," Brannon said.
CBS News and U.S. News and World Report also covered the story initially reported by The Huffington Post.
According to Gohmert's clarification, the congressman previously had been scheduled for a 10-minute interview Friday with radio host and former U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook. News of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., was breaking that morning. Istook asked Gohmert his take as a former criminal district court judge.
Gohmert replied with a string of quotes by America's founding fathers, including John Adams.
"What really gets me as a Christian is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs and then a senseless crazy act of terror like this takes place," Gohmert said, according to an interview transcript he released.
"What have we done with God?" Gohmert later asked, after saying the government has threatened high school graduates with jail over the use of God's name in ceremonies. "We told him that we don't want him around."
The host also noted a Washington Post article that said the Colorado tragedy was likely to rekindle gun control debates.
Gohmert responded by recalling both the October 1991 shootings that left 24 dead in a Killeen cafeteria and a more recent shooting in the Smith County Courthouse. A man who had a concealed weapons permit died in the Tyler attack but was considered a hero for prompting the shooter's retreat.
"It does make me wonder, you know, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying (a gun)?" Gohmert asked in the interview.
The session finally moved to the question of mental health checks on people buying guns.
Gohmert replied he learned on the judge's bench that people with mental illness must stay on their prescribed medications.
He also said a recent study of suicides by military personnel showed "all of the people who committed suicide, within their thousands of people studied, were part of the 2 percent most atheistic members of the military. We've lost our faith."