Legislators: Meeting public is vital

Jan. 9, 2011 at 12:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Members of Congress expressed shock Sunday at the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords but said meeting with constituents is essential.

Giffords, D-Ariz., remained in critical condition Sunday after being shot at a meeting with constituents in Tucson Saturday. Six people were killed.

On "Fox News Sunday," Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said, "Gabby is a good friend." He noted he had worked on NASA funding with Giffords, whose husband is an astronaut.

He called for increased security for members of Congress, and said, "Words do have consequences. ... We're getting ready to celebrate … the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., who admonished us that we are going to regret in this generation not just for the vitriolic words and deeds of bad people, but for the appalling silence of good people."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said, "We need to make sure we are smart and we respond appropriately to this incident. I am concerned about putting up more walls between myself and the people that I represent."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said, "We need to emphasize the humanity and the tragedy of this whole thing. You know, we're people like anybody else."

Even though Arizona allows carrying concealed weapon without a permit, "Rep. Giffords is a defender of the Second Amendment," Paul said. "It's probably about a very sick individual and what should have been done for that person. But the weapons don't kill people. It's the individual that killed these people."

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said, "This kind of senseless violence is never appropriate in our country, least of all when it's directed at somebody like Congresswoman Giffords who is a caring and energetic and engaged and committed public servant. … We need to be more cautious and concerned about our security, but we also need to be rededicated to the work of trying to serve our constituents."

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