A North Texas politician who was in Virginia when the shooting happened at practice for the congressional game has returned home.
Representative Joe Barton of Arlington and his two sons were there when shots started. All three attended the charity baseball game on Thursday.
With his oldest son, Brad, by his side and his youngest son, Jack, quietly watching from sidelines, Texas Congressman Joe Barton got emotional as he relived the shootout.
“I said, ‘Where's Jack?!’ and members already in the dugout had already put him under the bench and put their bodies to protect them,” he recalled.
There was one lighthearted moment when Joe revealed the game-winning trophy presented to them by the Democrats is just temporary.
“They didn't give it to us,” he joked. “It's just on loan until Scalise gets back on his feet.”
Barton says his focus moving forward is on toning down the rhetoric.
“We can debate climate change or tax policy or health care policy without us degenerating into name calling and personalities, and I'm going to do that,” he said.
Despite being caught up in the shootout, Barton says he does not feel he can effectively do his job — interacting with his constituents — surrounded by private security.
“I think what you can do is when you have large public events, alert the sheriff or the police in your area and let them determine how much security is needed,” he advised.
The attack has not changed his support for the second amendment, but Barton says he would vote for additional funding for mental health screening and background checks.
“How to have the right to keep and bear arms and prevent them from being used inappropriately is not an easy question to answer,” he admitted. “But the answer is not gun control. The answer is not to take away the second amendment.”
Barton says he intends on taking this weekend off from politics. His focus will be on family and celebrating Father's Day with his two boys.