Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took issue with President Obama's approach to gun violence on the Senate floor Tuesday, arguing that the president mistakenly views gun violence as a "disease."
"[President Obama] is directing the Centers for Disease Control to conduct research into the causes of gun violence," Grassley said, referencing one of the executive actions Obama signed in response to the Newtown massacre. "But gun violence is not a disease, and lawful gun ownership is not a disease. It is a constitutionally protected individual right, the famous Second Amendment right, not only part of the Constitution for 225 years but reinforced by two recent Supreme Court decisions. The president said that we suffer from an -- quote, 'epidemic of violence,' end of quote. Although there is too much violence in America. Violent crime rates are at the lowest level in 50 years, not at epidemic levels, at least epidemic when compared to the -- prior to the last 50 years."
Grassley continued, arguing that law enforcement has been successful at driving down the rate of gun violence, except mass shootings. "Notably, crime rates are at their lowest level in 50 years at the very same time that more guns are in circulation than ever before. But what has not declined is mass killings like we had in Newtown, Conn., and of course this should be our focus," Grassley said.
Grassley's comments come ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30.