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GOP candidate uses Rwandan genocide to excuse inaction on gun control

New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce


Republicans like Steve Pearce continue to cling to absurd reasons for not supporting gun safety laws.

Republican lawmakers have by and large stubbornly refused to take action on gun safety. But New Mexico representative and gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce offered the most bizarre excuse yet for opposing gun control.

In a radio interview, Pearce attempted to draw a line from the mass genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and gun violence in America today.

Specifically, he insisted that passing gun safety laws won’t stop school massacres because “evil” people can still use machetes.

“Gun control itself is not going to be the answer,” Pearce said regarding the school massacre in Parkland, Florida, that claimed 17 lives. “Take a look at Rwanda 20-30 years ago. They killed a million people with machetes because of the evil in the hearts of people.”

This new attempt to deflect responsibility for stopping gun violence is not only strange — it’s despicable.

In 1994, members of the Hutu majority government oversaw a genocidal mass slaughter of nearly one million people in Rwanda. The government sponsored the 100-day genocide, and the perpetrators did indeed use machetes.

Pearce’s suggestion that new gun laws won’t make a difference in the U.S. because the Rwandan genocide was carried out without guns is ludicrous. And it takes callous advantage of a horrific episode in history to try to justify his own dismissal of the gun violence crisis.

Pearce declared that he thinks there’s “evil that is coming loose now” and “stuff percolating in people’s hearts.”

Yet Pearce doesn’t support laws to keep military-style rifles out of the hands of these “evil” people. Instead, he wants people to be allowed to carry concealed weapons around school campuses.

In the radio interview, Pearce also blamed societal ills for the constant parade of mass shootings in the U.S.

Echoing former Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, Pearce declared that there’s been a “complete breakdown in the values of our country” which is “coming straight from a breakdown in the family.”

Incidentally, Pearce is flat wrong about a supposed “breakdown” of the American family. But that would be a ridiculous explanation nonetheless for the deadly increase in mass murders since Republicans allowed the assault weapons ban to expire in 2004.

Republicans like Pearce are twisting themselves into knots to explain why they won’t support tightening gun laws. And they will apparently use anything they can think of to excuse it — including a genocide 25 years ago and 7,000 miles away.