Scalise Compares Planes Not Being Banned After 9/11 to Gun Violence

A Republican leader in the House of Representatives, on the topic gun control measures, brought up the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

House Republican Whip and Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, during a press conference Wednesday, mentioned that day and compared how leaders reacted back then to how they are behaving in the wake of recent deadly mass shootings.

"And I go back to September 11 here because, on that tragic day, the country made a clear realization that dots weren't being connected. Terrorist attacks were happening and the country didn't have the right focus on the fundamental core problems that were creating those attacks. And airplanes were used that day, as the weapon to kill thousands of people and to inflict terror on our country. There wasn't a conversation about banning airplanes. There was a conversation about connecting the dots. How can we try to figure out if there are signs we can see to stop the next attack from happening?" he said.

Scalise's comments Wednesday come as the House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on gun violence. Lawmakers were using Wednesday's hearing to listen to testimony from an 11-year-old survivor of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, as well as parents from the Uvalde and Buffalo, New York, shootings.

Scalise mentions 9/11, planes during press conference
Republican Rep. Steve Scalise said there wasn't any talk about banning planes following 9/11 after some have called for gun reform following recent deadly mass shootings. Above, Scalise speaks at press conference on June 8. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

One woman, the mother of a child who was fatally shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, told the committee that she ran a mile without shoes to the school where she learned that her daughter was one of the gunman's 21 victims.

Following the deadly shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, a number of people have called for firearm reform. On Tuesday, Matthew McConaughey appeared at the White House press briefing and gave an impassioned speech in which he asked for gun reform legislation.

"We need background checks. We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15 rifle to 21. We need a waiting period for those rifles. We need red-flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them," McConaughey said.

The comments from the Uvalde-born actor echo those of President Joe Biden who addressed the nation last week and urged Congress to get to work on such legislation, stating that "enough is enough."

In response to Scalise's statement about airplanes and 9/11, Scalise's congressional colleague and California Democratic Representative Ted Lieu posted on Twitter that he had been moved to write a bill.

"Dear GOP Rep. @SteveScalise: As a follow up to your brilliant point, I'm going to write a bill applying all the regulations we put on airplanes after 9/11 to also apply to guns, including creating an entire agency devoted to who can get on a plane or get a gun. Want to join me?" Lieu wrote.

Late last month, following the shooting at Robb Elementary School, where 21 people, including 19 children were killed, Republican Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert made comments similar to Scalise's as she also brought up 9/11 and airplanes.

During an appearance on Fox News' Hannity Boebert, Boebert dismissed calls for gun reform and stated that "when 9/11 happened, we didn't ban planes, we secured the cockpit."

In response to Newsweek, Scalise's office wrote, "He spoke at length about Democrats' gun legislation this morning. I'd refer you to his full comments" and sent a YouTube link to Wednesday's press conference.