Collins says he'll start carrying a gun in the wake of shooting
Rep. Chris Collins says the shooting of fellow Republicans at a congressional baseball practice Wednesday morning is "a sobering wake-up call." He says as President Donald Trump's "number one surrogate" in Washington, he plans to take added precautions at public gatherings.
"I have a carry permit and I can tell you from now on it's going to be in my pocket and not in my glove box. This is a sign of the times and it's just so sad that it's come to this. We all need to look in the mirror and see if it's rhetoric and tone that needs to be shifted and agree to disagree in a more respectful tone," Collins told WBFO.
Collins says he is thankful House Majority Whip Steve Scalise travels with a police detail who stopped the shooter, who died of his injuries.
"Even when I'm back in the district, we're going to have to err significantly on the side of caution for both ourselves, our staff, and even spectators, because they would be the innocent ones just watching," he added.
He says his thoughts and prayers are with Scalise and the others who were injured. Scalise was in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon.
Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, says he has no plans to change protocols for his own personal safety. He advised against overreaction, saying people who seek to do harm "win" when people feel they need to alter their regular behavior.
"We can't change our movements from day to day. We just have to be aware and be cautious about circumstances wherein there is the possibility for violence to occur," Higgins said.
Higgins said House Speaker Paul Ryan "set the right tone" in his comments following the shooting.
In a written statement, Rep. Tom Reed, a Corning Republican, said the police officers who were on the scene are heroes for stopping the shooter before the situation escalated even further.