Fox News Host Confronts GOP's Mo Brooks With Polling Data About Gun Reform

Fox News host Sandra Smith confronted Representative Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican, with polling data showing that a narrow majority of Americans want stricter gun laws during a Sunday interview—as the GOP lawmaker touted the importance of the Constitution's Second Amendment.

A mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday left 19 students and two educators dead. In the wake of the horrific violence, Democrats and some Republican lawmakers have called for gun reform legislation in an effort to prevent future tragedies. Meanwhile, strong Second Amendment supporters, such as Brooks, have largely blamed a mental health crisis and poor moral values in the nation, pushing back against proposals for stricter gun laws.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday hosted by Smith, Brooks again promoted this perspective, as the journalist cited polling data and questioned him over any possible reforms he would support.

"The minimum age in your state to buy an AR-15, like the one the school shooter used in Uvalde, is 18 years old. There's no waiting period between the time a firearm is purchased and when its turned over to the buyer. There's no license for the sale of ammunition. Gallup does find that a majority of Americans, 52 percent of them, are in favor of stricter gun laws when it comes to the sale of firearms," Smith told the lawmaker.

Sandra Smith and Mo Brooks
Fox News host Sandra Smith confronts GOP Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama with polling data that shows a majority of Americans want stricter gun laws in an interview on Fox News Sunday. Screenshot/Fox News Sunday

"So, to the majority of Americans who feel that way, you say what?" the Fox News host then asked.

The Alabama Republican responded by saying he doesn't believe the polling data accurately reflects Americans' opinions. "I suspect that the people who were polled, by way of example, were not properly explained what the purpose of the Second Amendment right to bear arms is," he said.

The Constitution's Second Amendment states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Gun reform advocates often argue that the first part of the Amendment about a "regulated Militia" is no longer valid, as the U.S. now has a strong and well-trained standing military.

The GOP lawmaker went on to say that he went to school as a child "many times" with a shotgun in his car. "Why? Because I just got through duck hunting," he said, adding that there were other teenagers like him that brought weapons to school at the time.

"Back when I was growing up, we didn't have these mass killings," Brooks continued. "They weren't there. They didn't occur. Or if they did, I certainly wasn't cognizant of them and they were very, very rare—so rare that I cannot recall a single incident in which those things occurred during my youth."

The Republican congressman argued that mass shootings in schools are "much more common" today because of a "decline in moral values, the decline in respect for human life." He said young people need to be "properly" taught better moral values and that the country needs to address "mental health issues" as well.

"That is the way to fix the problem," he concluded.

Smith continued her questioning, citing remarks Brooks made last week in which he blamed "liberal policies."

"What happened in Texas is horrible and reflects poorly on liberal policies that encourage out of wedlock child birth, divorce, single-parent households, and amoral values that undermine respect for life," he told Alabama Political Reporter in a statement. When contacted for further comment on Sunday, a spokesperson for Brooks emailed Newsweek the same statement.

"Does that statement, sir, unfairly blame single-parent households in this country for the rise of mass shootings?" Smith asked the GOP lawmaker.

"Absolutely not. It blames moral values' decline in the United States of America," he responded. He said there are a lot of contributing factors, citing "all the studies" he's ever seen as showing that children coming from single-parent homes do not do as well by the time they become adults.

Smith appeared to be citing a Gallup poll published in October 2021. That survey showed, as she said, that 52 percent of Americans favored stricter gun laws. Only 11 percent believed that gun laws should be less strict, while 35 percent thought guns laws were fine as they are.

A similar poll conducted by Pew Research Center in April 2021 found roughly the same results. That survey found that 53 percent of Americans believed stricter gun laws were a good idea. About a third (32 percent) thought guns laws were largely fine as they were, and 14 percent believed they should be less strict.

While Brooks and many Republicans may be largely opposed to most, or all, gun reform proposals, some GOP lawmakers have suggested they are open to changes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, tasked Texas GOP Senator John Cornyn with negotiating with Democrats to find a potential compromise on the issue last week.

"I am hopeful that we could come up with a bipartisan solution," McConnell said Thursday.