ORANGE CITY—During a stop in Orange City on Aug. 6, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said his constituents have contacted him with their thoughts on gun violence.
Grassley said his e-mail inbox was flooded with messages from constituents regarding the mass shootings in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH.
The senator said he received 2,381 messages the following Monday, Aug. 5, and 1,281 were regarding the two shootings that killed at least 31 people just 13 hours apart.
However, questions about gun control were not raised during Grassley’s Q&A session with the employees of AIM Aerospace. Visiting the facility is why Grassley was in Orange City.
In a statement Grassley released after the two mass shootings, he expressed that he would support the use of red flag laws.
“Let’s say you go get a gun legally, and maybe after 10 years somebody decides something’s wrong with you. You’re a threat to yourself or you’re a threat to other people,” Grassley said. “Then they — a relative or a friend or a person that’s not a friend — could take you to court and say it’s too dangerous for him to have a gun. If the judge agrees with that then it’s taken away. We’ve got to make sure your constitutional rights are protected.”
When asked if his views on gun control are evolving in response to rampant gun violence, Grassley responded, “No.”
“You’ve got to think in terms of the fact that this president is being blamed, but we had mass shootings under three or four presidents before him. So that’s wrong,” he said. “Just to have this issue come up because the president says something that people don’t like, that has no connection to these shootings, I don’t think that it’s a basis for considering taking away people’s constitutional rights.”
After touring the aerospace manufacturing facility, Grassley responded to questions with about 175 AIM employees in attendance.
The subjects of the questions included tariffs, the government budget, Iran, North Korea, fracking and mandatory drug testing of people on government assistance.
Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and member of the budget committee, said his support for raising the government’s spending cap and suspending the debt ceiling was about preventing another government shutdown.
Congress and President Donald Trump agreed on July 22 to raising the spending cap, and suspending the debt ceiling — the maximum amount of money the government can borrow — until July 21, 2021.
“At one time in 1995, I thought the smart thing to do was to show these crazy nuts we’re going to get what we want; we’re just going to shut the government down,” Grassley told the audience. “It costs money to shut government down. It costs money to open up government. Government is supposed to be a service for the people. Then you don’t ever get what you leveraged to get. I learned it doesn’t pay to shut down the government.”
The senator also has changed his mind some on President Trump’s hardball tactics with China, and said Iowa farmers affected by tariffs have shown tolerance.
“It’s fair to say there’s anxiety because farmers want certainty for the future. China is the big 900-pound panda that we’ve got to deal with,” he said. “
One time I said to the president, ‘Two years ago when you talked about tariffs, I would have thought you’re crazy. Now I realize China wouldn’t be negotiating if you hadn’t put them on.’”