TN politicians on Orlando: Haslam lowers flags; Cohen calls for assault weapon ban

Gov. Bill Haslam has announced – via tweet – that at flags at the Tennessee state Capitol and other state buildings will be flown at half staff through Thursday “in memory of victims of violent attack in Orlando.”

Here are some other Tennessee reactions to the Orlando shootings on Sunday from Tennessee political figures:

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) via press release:
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today released the following statement after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL.

“I am saddened and horrified by the mass shooting in Orlando,” said Congressman Cohen. “My thoughts go out to the victims and their families as well as all members of the LGBT community everywhere who were targeted in this tragedy. This was a hate crime and likely as well an act of terrorism. While the shooter is reported to have vowed allegiance to the leader of ISIS and is Muslim, we must not do what ISIS wants and tie one deranged, mentally ill murderer to others who share his religion. As Muhammad Ali said, ‘Islam is not about San Bernardino, Belgium or Paris…,’ nor is it about Orlando.

“I call on Speaker Ryan to bring a bill to the House floor banning all assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Outside of our military, no one in this country needs an assault rifle to defend themselves or their homes. They are often used in these mass shootings. Also as Congress continues the appropriations process, we must allocate more federal funding for mental health treatments and centers.”

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Chattanooga) via press release
Yesterday Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) joined Bret Baier on FOX News to discuss the tragic terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida and his bill H.R. 4820, the Combating Terrorist Recruitment Act of 2016, which recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a large bipartisan majority.

“The actions and rhetoric of ISIL and Islamic terrorists is outrageous. They are hurting and killing Americans…we’ve got to take the fight right to ISIS and we’ve got to beat them here and we’ve got to beat them abroad. It’s time to be correct, not politically correct,” said Rep. Fleischmann.

To watch the full video please click HERE.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) press release
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today released the following statement after the mass shooting in Orlando:

“This is one of the worst days in American history: our largest mass murder, more ISIS terrorism on U.S. soil, and the worst hate crime ever all in the same horrific nightmare. I stand with all the victims and their families and loved ones, particularly with the LGBT community that was deliberately targeted,” Rep. Cooper said. “I wish I could be at the Nashville vigil tonight to support our great mayor, Megan Barry, in her efforts to mourn our dead and heal our nation, but I am already in Washington for votes tomorrow in Congress.”

Note: Cooper’s last sentence refers to a vigil for the victims held Sunday night with Nashville’s mayor among hundreds of attendees, according to The Tennessean. Cohen and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland attended a similar vigil in Memphis, reports the Commercial Appeal. It appears similar vigils are planned in several Tennessee cities — Johnson City, for example.

Former state Rep. Joe Carr, Republican candidate in 6th congressional District
SIXTH DISTRICT, TENNESSEE. (13, JUNE 2016)- A few days ago the Muslim terrorist group ISIS released a statement on a plan to attack Florida. According to another report, ISIS released a kill list of individuals and target locations for “lone wolf” attacks. Early Sunday morning Muslim terrorist, Omar Mateen, committed the largest mass shooting in United States history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen made a pledge to ISIS prior to his attack which resulted in the murdering of 50 people and leaving another 53 people hospitalized from their injuries. The death toll is expected to rise.

“First and foremost our prayers go out to the victims and their families who have suffered the senseless loss of loved ones and family members. This Muslim terrorist attack is but another example of why we must destroy ISIS. Over the last seven and half years we have seen various Islamic terrorist groups commit horrific acts of terror, not only overseas, but here in the United States. I demand that the Obama administration and all those serving in elected office stop catering to political correctness and call these attacks what they are, Islamic terrorism. The era of political correctness has put our nation and its citizens at risk and should be condemned.”

Carr Later went on to say, “When elected to congress I will do everything possible to not only humiliate and destroy ISIS but put an end to the dangerous game of political correctness that puts at risk the security of our nation and the safety of its citizens.”
Former State Representative Joe Carr is a lifelong resident of Tennessee serving 3 terms in the Tennessee General Assembly (2008-2014). Joe Carr is a congressional candidate in Tennessee’s Sixth District.

Excerpt from U.S. Rep. Diane Black in an op-ed piece (appearing a couple of days later).

The killer was a terrorist influenced not by “right wing Christians” but rather by a radical Islamic ideology that doesn’t just condone the persecution of gay people, women, and others – it compels it with the promise of eternal reward.

This evil cannot be legislated away with a background check or a weapons ban; it must be extinguished at the source.

As our country emerges from the thick fog of this terrorist act, may we be clear eyed in recognizing the enemy we face, may we identify radical Islam for the threat that it is, may we reject the temptation to use tragedy for political gain, and – above all else – may we continue to pray.

From a Times-Free Press comment collection:

Most Republican elected officials tweeted their thoughts instead of issuing news releases.

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., got in his own take with a tweet: “Islamic terrorism is real and it is beyond time we started treating it as such. Muslims across the U.S need to disavow radical Islam!”

Haslam on Sunday tweeted: “Flags over State Capitol & buildings to fly @ half-staff thru sunset 6/16 in memory of victims of violent attack in Orlando. #PrayForOrlando.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., tweeted he was “Saddened by the tragedy that occurred overnight in Orlando. Praying for the victims, their families, and our dedicated first responders.”

He later added: “Appreciate the Christians, Muslims and leaders of all faiths who have stepped forward to condemn the tragic terrorist attack in Orlando.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., tweeted that “my heart goes out to the family and loved ones of those killed in [Sunday] night’s horrific act of terror.”