More than two-dozen local residents crowded inside Mayor Ronnie Marks’ conference room Monday morning to meet with U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
Shelby, who has appeared at several meet-and-greet events in North Alabama over the past week, talked about a wide range of issues, from deficit reduction to sequestration.
Before launching into those subjects, however, he discussed gun control in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.
Shelby, a gun owner and Second Amendment supporter, said what happened there could happen anywhere, and added that increased government control is not the solution to ending gun violence. He also placed part of the blame on a culture of violence, bolstered by movies and television shows.
“We need to be sensible with guns,” he said. “I try to be careful with a knife. I believe people who commit crimes with guns should pay double or triple.”
Shelby spent the lion’s share of his time Monday discussing the economy. Using a graph, he showed how the U.S. debt has increased significantly from $909 billion in 1980 to $16.4 trillion in 2013. His chart showed the deficit increasing to $26.1 trillion by 2020.
“We’re the richest country in the world but we’re the biggest debtor nation in the world. Debt will kill you, and it’s killing us,” he said. “I don’t believe we can borrow our way to prosperity.”