Sen. John Kennedy said Wednesday that the problem in America isn’t guns but the “idiot” government workers who fail to enforce already existing gun-control laws.
Mr. Kennedy, Louisiana Republican, said he opposes a bipartisan gun-control bill put forth by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn that reinforces the requirement for federal agencies to report criminal offenses to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“I support background checks. What I don’t support is federal bureaucrats’ inability or unwillingness to do their job,” he told The Times-Picayune. “We don’t need a law to try to get federal workers to do their jobs. We shouldn’t be asking government workers to ‘pretty please with sugar on top, can you do your job?’ “
The bill was introduced after Devin Kelley shot and killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November. Kelley was able to obtain multiple firearms legally after Holloman Air Force Base officials failed to enter his 2012 court-martial and conviction on two counts of domestic assault into the federal database.
Mr. Kennedy said he supports background checks but stands against a provision in the bill that offers financial incentives for state governments to also report offenses to the system.
“They already get an incentive for loading records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; it’s called a paycheck,” he said. “If that’s not a good enough incentive, then they need to be fired.”
“I don’t think we need more gun control; I think we need more idiot control,” he added. “One of the problems around this place, I’ve found out after a year on Capitol Hill, is that nobody ever gets fired.”
Mr. Kennedy said he may be the only no vote on the bill, which is co-sponsored by 17 Republicans, 17 Democrats and one independent.
A Cornyn spokeswoman told The Times-Picayune: “We look forward to reviewing any suggestions Senator Kennedy has for ways to strengthen the bill.”