Dec 04 2015 Sen. Richard Shelby: Obama using California shooting to 'push political agenda'

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby on Thursday accused President Obama of trying to score political points in wake of Wednesday's mass shooting that left 14 people dead in California.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Shelby pointed to Obama calling for new gun control laws in the aftermath of the California shooting. Obama has repeatedly called for gun control throughout his presidency, often following high-profile shootings.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have fought back, citing the Second Amendment that provides for the right to bear arms.

Shelby also described Obama's call for gun control "misguided."

"Following the tragic events of yesterday, President Obama – unsurprisingly – called to limit the Second Amendment rights of the American people through stricter gun control," Shelby said. "This is, I believe, yet another example of the president using tragic events to push his political agenda.

"Infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is not the answer to curbing violent crime in America.  Restrictive gun control measures only prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves because criminals, by definition, refuse to follow the law."

Shelby also repeated his opposition to Obama's executive order last month that removed military surplus vehicles from local law enforcement. Among those forced to return equipment was the Calhoun County sheriff's department.

"These vehicles have been valuable to local law enforcement officials in my home state of Alabama, specifically in Calhoun County.  They were also used by the local law enforcement seeking to protect those in harm's way yesterday in California.  I have called on the President to reverse this dangerous decision in which he abuses the authority of his office, I believe, by making unilateral decisions through executive fiat."

Two tracked vehicles, which were military surplus and had been used by the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office, were returned last week.

According to Shelby, Obama is more focused on diminishing law enforcement capabilities than stopping criminals.

"During this time of increased uncertainty at home and abroad, the American people are looking to us for certainty that we will do everything in our power to keep them safe," Shelby said. "Unfortunately, President Obama has once again chosen to attack and weaken law enforcement and law-abiding citizens instead of focusing on fighting against criminals and radical Islamic terrorists.

"Let me be clear here today: the President's calls to increase gun control and remove equipment that local law enforcement uses to keep us safe only undermines the safety and security of American citizens."