SMYRNA — U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) tackled such sensitive topics as gun reform, abortion and rape during the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce breakfast which took place Thursday at the Smyrna Community Center.
“There are some problems, and maybe these huge magazines even for someone who says, ‘look, I just use an AR-15 for target practice,’ but do you really need to be standing there shooting at a silhouette a shot a second or even quicker with that kind of weapon? For what purpose?” Gingrey asked. “I would be willing to listen to the possibility of the capacity of a magazine.”
Gingrey, who took the time to praise Adventure Outdoors owner Jay Wallace as the gold standard for running a responsible gun retail business, said he is also open to revisions of the so-called gun show loophole.
“What it is basically, if you go to a gun show and there’s somebody out there in the parking lot, and they’re getting out of their car, and they’ve got an A-15 on their shoulder or …. John Q. Public wants to sell a handgun or whatever, then there’s no background check,” Gingrey said. “You know, you’re buying a used weapon from somebody and then basically no background check.”
With the sophistication of smartphone technology, there should be an application that allows someone selling a gun to run a background check with relative ease, he said.
Gingrey referenced the man responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, describing how he was judged by a psychiatrist to be a danger to himself and ordered to undergo outpatient treatment.
“But because it wasn’t in-patient, it was not required to put his name in a databank,” Gingrey said. “Well, I think in the state of Georgia the law is identical. We ought to fix that.”
Among those in the audience was state Sen.-elect Hunter Hill (R-Smyrna), who shared his thoughts about Gingrey’s remarks on weapons after the breakfast.
“Well, I definitely think that first of all the issue should be handled federally and not at the state level because we don’t want to put our business owners at a disadvantage between Alabama and neighboring states, so I agree that it should be handled federally,” Hill said. “I agree that we should look at background checks for those that have a history of mental illness. We already have a background check, but we need to see if we can incorporate some of the aspects that the congressman brought up into the background check. I don’t think that limiting the clip will help this issue. This is not a gun control issue. This is a tormented individual’s issue, and that’s just what I believe.”
Opening up his talk to questions from the room, Gingrey was asked what the latest news was on the topic of abortion as the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion approaches on Jan. 22.
“The abortion law that was passed in Georgia last year in regard to the fetal pain issue and whether you can perform an abortion up to 26 weeks, no questions asked, except rubber stamped from two physicians … was changed somewhat and would make abortion more difficult at 22 weeks or 23 weeks,” Gingrey said.
The state law has been highly controversial and received a lot of pushback from such groups as his own professional society, the OB-GYN community, although Gingrey made it clear he believes life begins at conception.
Gingrey weighed in on comments made by two once-favored GOP Senate candidates, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana, who both lost to Democrats in 2012 following remarks they made about pregnancy and rape.
“Part of the reason the Dems still control the Senate is because of comments made in Missouri by Todd Akin and Indiana by Mourdock were considered a little bit over the top,” Gingrey said. “Mourdock basically said ‘Look, if there is conception in the aftermath of a rape, that’s still a child, and it’s a child of God, essentially.’ Now, in Indiana, that cost him the election.
“And in Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”
Gingrey pointed out that he had been an OB-GYN since 1975.
“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”
Rep. Gingrey's statement about his comments
On Akin comments:
At a breakfast yesterday morning, I was asked why Democrats made abortion a central theme of the presidential campaign. I do not defend, nor do I stand by, the remarks made by Rep. Akin and Mr. Mourdock. In my attempt to provide context as to what I presumed they meant, my position was misconstrued.
On gun control:
As a father and grandfather, I am heartbroken at the tragedy in Newtown. No parent, child, or community should have to suffer such devastation and overwhelming grief. At the same time, as we begin a national dialogue on how to prevent future tragedies, it is of paramount importance to defend our Second Amendment rights. Throughout my political career, I’ve been a tireless advocate of Second Amendment rights and will continue to be one moving forward.