Mulvaney vows to fight gun control bills, while backing tighter background checks

adouglas@heraldonline.comFebruary 19, 2013 

  • Mulvaney on the issues

    U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney took questions from the media before Tuesday’s town hall-style meeting. Here are a few of the topics he addressed.

    •  Mulvaney voted against sending relief to Hurricane Sandy victims, a part of his strong stance on relieving the nation’s deficit. Has he found it hard to defend that decision?

    “Yeah, I got beat up a little bit in local media in New York and New Jersey, but who cares – I mean, that’s to be expected. So no, it’s not been hard to defend at all. And I would do it again if I had to ...

    “I actually had folks from New York and New Jersey – while they disagreed with me – thank me for the tone in which we raised the debate. It was not a battle over whether or not the government should do it or not. There are folks in my party who think that that’s not an appropriate function of the government – I’m not one of those folks.

    “I do think that coming to the relief of a state or large cities is appropriate – it’s very difficult for states to prepare for those kinds of things. ...”

    •  What do people in his district need to understand about Washington’s discussion about the fiscal cliff? What can be done to avoid legislative gridlock during financial discussions?

    “We’re all affected by this. ... The national debt affects you as an individual. It affects what you want to accomplish in your life; it affects what the next generation wants to accomplish in its life. It’s real.”

    Because of what’s been done over the past 30 years, this generation will be “worse off” than their parents’ generation, he said.

    If Republicans had a majority in the Senate and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan had won the presidential election, it might have been easier to fix the fiscal cliff problem, Mulvaney said.

    “But I also sort of take the historical view of it. Not only has the country experienced gridlock probably more often than not over its history ... the separation of powers between the branches is sort of set up to hardwire gridlock into the system. It’s supposed to be hard for us to do things.

    “I think the reason that it’s broken is because we found a way around gridlock and that’s to borrow money.”

    The fiscal cliff compromise added to the national deficit, he said. The usual means of compromise in Washington, he said, means borrowing more money.

    “Gridlock is there – it’s part of our system. If you’re going to throw your hands up because the parties can’t agree on anything this week, you might as well not be there in the first place.”

    •  Does he plan to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014?

    “Lindsey (Graham) and Tim (Scott) are friends of mine – it’s hard to run against people that you really like. Even if you disagree with them from time to time, your heart’s got to be in it. I think Lindsey and Tim make a good one-two combination.

    “I was going to run in 2016 if Jim DeMint didn’t run, but we didn’t expect Jim to leave.”

    Mulvaney doesn’t want to stay in the House of Representatives forever, he says, adding that he believes in term limits.

    “I believe in being a citizen legislator – going, serving and then going home.”

— U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney made clear on Tuesday night his position on gun control, telling a crowd of about 200 people in Rock Hill that he’ll oppose legislation banning assault weapons and restricting high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Debate over gun laws has been thrust to the forefront of lawmakers’ minds since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Mulvaney, a second-term Republican from Indian Land, said at a town hall-style meeting at York Technical College’s Baxter Hood Center that it’s not likely Congress will pass an assault weapons ban or restrictions on ammunition.

A legislative clamp-down on background checks for gun shoppers is possible, Mulvaney said, and he’d support it.

Mulvaney represents the 5th Congressional District, which includes York, Chester and Lancaster counties.

Out of about 15 gun control proposals floating around Washington, Mulvaney said he thinks new legislation about background checks and high-capacity ammunition magazines will get the most debate.

“A lot of folks – myself included – had forgotten that you could go to a dealer at a gun show and buy a gun without a background check,” Mulvaney said.

“My guess is you may see some changes on that.”

He will not support legislation that deals with background checks on private sales between friends or family members, Mulvaney said.

“The background check is not a perfect solution,” he said. “Less than 1 percent of all the guns used in crimes are purchased at gun shows.”

Many states, including South Carolina, he said, “do not do a very good job on sharing their mental health information with those databases,” which weakens existing background check regulations.

He will continue to fight a federal restriction on high-capacity ammunition magazines, Mulvaney said, but most “all-out” bans proposed are “dead in the water” in Washington.

About the ‘fiscal cliff’

Mulvaney spent much of the more than two-hour meeting answering questions from the audience about the “fiscal cliff” agreement and ongoing spending negotiations in Washington.

The nation’s lawmakers face a March 1 deadline to act on a $110 billion across-the-board spending cut, known as the sequester.

Part of the cuts include an 11 percent slash of the federal defense department’s more than $500 billion budget.

“I’m one of those Republicans who thinks we should be looking to the defense department for ways to save money,” he said.

However, the 11 percent cut to military spending, Mulvaney said, is not the way to rein in defense costs.

“There will be real impacts to our national defense as a result of these cuts.”

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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