Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma (AP/Sue Ogrocki)

James Inhofe blames "sanctuary cities" for Las Vegas shooting

Inhofe says Congress can't do anything to prevent gun violence in America and instead blames "permissiveness"


Charlie May
October 4, 2017 6:51PM (UTC)

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said that "permissive laws," such as ones in so-called sanctuary cities, have fostered a culture of lawlessness that contributes to mass shootings, which he argues is why any preventative firearm measures are unnecessary.

In an interview with Vox, the longtime senator was asked if Congress could, or would, take any measures to help prevent gun violence in America following the massacre at a country music concert in Las Vegas.

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"No," Inhofe bluntly responded. "Because everything they are talking about now is already illegal. Nothing that they have mentioned — the individuals that are trying to infringe upon Second Amendment rights — none of those things would have precluded this from happening."

But the devices the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, used to essentially turn his semi-automatic rifles into fully-automatic weapons are completely legal. He had 12 of them.

Inhofe added: "So, yes, there is going to be discussion. There is going to be discussion on it. But I don’t think anything is going to happen on that."

Inhofe did admit there was a culture problem in the country, but stated that culture has nothing to do with America's gun fetish.

"We go through this every time, whether it’s in Connecticut — that isn’t the problem. The problem is a cultural problem. So that’s what I would say to them," he said. "There’s a cultural problem. There are a lot of problems in this country having to do with permissiveness." More specifically, the culture surrounding undocumented immigrants.

"Having to do with — what about all these states that have laws that protect people who break laws? I mean, the cities that support [a culture of permissiveness] — that is something that certainly has a profound impact on people’s behavior. You can go ahead and break a law and you can come to a sanctuary city, and they wouldn’t enforce the laws," Inhofe elaborated.

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When asked to clarify, the Oklahoma senator doubled down on his view.

"I’m saying we’re inundated with permissive laws — that has a lot more to do with it than gun [ownership] laws."

It's unsurprising that Inhofe has been given an "A+" rating from the National Rifle Association, and like other Republican Senate colleagues, has consistently voted for lax gun laws.

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Inhofe is perhaps most remembered for his infamous snowball stunt, in which he — as Chairman of the Senate's Environment and Public Works committee — brought a snowball on the Senate floor to prove a point that climate change isn't real.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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