Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 | 5:05 p.m.
Rep. Joe Heck seems to have committed a political faux pas Tuesday when he appeared to agree with the KDWN 720-AM conservative radio host Alan Stock that President Barack Obama is using former Rep. Gabby Giffords as a “prop” to push a gun control message.
Heck offered an “I agree” to Stock, who had spent the last 30 seconds complaining that Obama’s State of the Union references to Giffords “who can’t even clap her hands … is just a shameful act, putting her up there as a prop.” Stock also called the president’s reference to Giffords “nauseating.”
Obama recognized Giffords, who was shot in the head during a constituent event in Tucson in January 2011, as an individual who “deserves a vote” on gun control in Congress.
Heck then went on to talk about the Dec. 14 shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and how “those that are anti-gun want to use that as their opportunity to limit Second Amendment rights.”
The audio clip is available on political columnist Jon Ralston’s blog, here.
But Heck is pushing back against the idea that he was criticizing Giffords, saying he was never agreeing with Stock’s comments — at least not about Giffords.
“Congressman Heck does not think that Congresswoman Giffords was being used as a prop at the State of the Union address,” Heck spokesman Greg Lemon said. “He was agreeing with the idea of there being a gun grab in Washington, and that legislative proposals infringe on Second Amendment rights.”
Stock had begun to ask Heck a question about “a gun grab out of D.C. by some of your colleagues from the other side of the aisle,” before riffing on the idea of Giffords being used as a prop for the next 30 seconds.
Lemon added that Heck spoke about Newtown not as a logical next step from Giffords, but also in reference to the idea of opportunistic lawmakers making a grab at guns.
“Heck does think that the shooting in Newtown elicited a very emotional response, and a lot of the proposals and bills and things were introduced of the aftermath with those emotional feelings in mind,” Lemon said. “He is a facts and figures guy, and if we’re going to do this, if we’re going to go down the road of gun measures, they need to be thorough and measured and considerate, not just knee-jerk, emotional responses. And he’s on the record saying as much.”