Yoho says critics distort his views on gun control
Published: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
North Central Florida's new congressman is a fervent supporter of the Second Amendment, and he is prepared to fight attempts to curtail that right unnecessarily.
But U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho suggests some critics distorted the views on gun control that he expressed in a recent interview.
Last weekend, in an interview with The Shark Tank, a conservative website from South Florida, the Gainesville Republican noted that the nation's founders and their British overlords were on somewhat equal grounds when it came to weaponry.
"The militia had the same equipment as the military to protect them against the tyrannical government," Yoho said in the interview.
"I think its more important today than ever that we uphold our Second Amendment."
Some liberal websites took Yoho's comments to mean that he supported making advanced weapons used by the U.S. military accessible to the public at large.
"We all know at least a few people who we'd prefer not to possess nuclear arms," Think Progress noted in its analysis of Yoho's interview.
"This is why Yoho's declaration is a dangerous one. When single-shot guns that took a long time to reload were the most advanced gun available, there was less to fear in citizens having the same access to weapons as soldiers. To hold that same standard in the nuclear age is naive and alarming."
The Huffington Post noted that Yoho had "hinted that the Second Amendment's historical context is still relevant today." Its piece added, "Gun technology has advanced significantly since the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791."
A third Internet site, The New Civil Rights Movement, observed that Yoho "says the Second Amendment allows Americans to own all the weapons the U.S. Armed Services have. So, logically, a nuclear weapon should be included."
Yoho told The Sun on Friday that some of his constituents believe that there should be no limits on ownership of weapons.
Yoho recalled that one even told him people should be allowed to own rocket launchers.
Yoho reiterated his comment to The Shark Tank that the Second Amendment is a "birthright" for American citizens, but he also made it clear that he does not share some of his constituents' views on what weapons should be available to the public.
"I don't think they need to be in the public domain, and they are illegal anyway," he said of some of the military's more powerful weapons.
"Back in the old days they had muskets and bayonets," Yoho added. "There is a line"
Yoho also said he totally supports President Barack Obama's call for a reduction in gun violence and noted that many of the executive orders the president recently issued toward that end are "common sense" measures that he believed the government was already doing.
Achieving that, he said, requires the government to ensure gun owners are responsible as well as analyzing the influences of Hollywood and violent video games.
Yet Yoho said he would resist any further federal intrusion into gun ownership that he believes conflicts with the Second Amendment.
"I will fight to uphold the Second Amendment," he said.
"Once you give over something to the government, you've lost that forever. And the people I represent are unyielding on that freedom."
Contact Bill Thompson at 867-4117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.