Politics

Do Sen. Tom Coburn's Gun Comments Help or Hurt Gun Rights Cause?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Sen. Tom Coburn is coming under fire for a comment he made about carrying a gun on the Senate floor, implying that if he could, he might shoot his fellow senators. Do such off-the-cuff comments help or hurt the cause of gun rights?

According to a report in Tulsa World, the Republican was speaking to a Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma on Tuesday when he had harsh words for his Senate colleagues, calling them "a class of career elitists" and "cowards."

But then, talking about his frustrations in dealing with his fellow Senators, he said, "It's just a good thing I can't pack a gun on the Senate floor."

A spokesman for Coburn said too much is being made of this.

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"Dr. Coburn was obviously joking and would be happy to personally apologize to any of his colleagues who were offended," John Hart told CBS News on Thursday.

It is clear Coburn was not serious and does not want to open fire on the floor of the U.S. Senate. But following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, even the hint of shooting a lawmaker is bound to create a furor.

With guns rights under attack in our country, do comments like Coburn's hurt the cause of 2nd Amendment rights, or can they simply be shrugged off as an unfortunate slip of the tongue?

And does the gun rights movement really need anyone to in such a cavalier manner? Doesn't that -- pardon the pun -- give ammunition to the other side? The same side who paints gun rights activists as shoot-from-the-hip yokels?