After Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) asked for prayers for the victims of the mass shooting at a church in Texas on Sunday in a tweet, he was met with widespread criticism from what he called the “secular left,” who claimed the latest mass shooting was Republicans’ fault for not budging on gun control policy.
Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 5, 2017
When asked about the backlash on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” show, Ryan said the criticism was “disappointing” and said “people who do not have faith don’t understand faith,” and claiming the “secular left” is responsible for some of the “disunity” in the U.S.
“It is the right thing to do in moments like this because, you know what? Prayer works,” he said. “And I know you believe that and I believe that and when you hear the secular left doing this think, no wonder you have so much polarization and disunity in this country when people think like that.”
He also said some were trying to “exploit a tragedy to infringe on law abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights” and said the fact that the shooter in Texas was able to get a gun was “a pretty clear cut case”: a convicted domestic abuser should not have been able to buy a gun.
“The law is on the books to prevent a person like this form getting a gun and that didn’t happen and we’ve got to get to the bottom of why that didn’t happen,” he said. “And yes, there are a lot of questions the Air Force has to answer on that.”
Speaking about another gun issue, Ryan also said the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) is still reviewing whether the sale of bump stocks is legal. Bump stocks are devices that make a semi-automatic weapon operate like an automatic weapon.
There was bipartisan outcry over the legality of the devices when a gunman used them to shoot and kill more than 50 people in Las Vegas just weeks ago. Republicans, including President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), have dismissed any attempts to talk about gun control in the wake of the latest mass shooting that left 26 people dead in Texas, saying it’s too early to talk about politics.