The outraged comments came fast from many Republican members of Congress this week after President Barack Obama announced executive actions on gun control. So it stood out Thursday when a Miami Republican congressman took a different tone.
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo condemned Obama for acting on his own, without lawmakers, saying using presidential authority "has further politicized what should be a non-partisan issue." But Curbelo then agreed with some of Obama's proposals, saying they "should be considered on their merits."
"At the heart of this debate over the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution is the need to reduce crime in our neighborhoods," Curbelo said in a statement. "I agree that we need more FBI agents to process background checks for people trying to buy firearms, and this latest action will allow for 230 additional examiners to review applications in a timely manner."
Curbelo also backed Obama's plan for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to require all firearm sellers to obtain a license and conduct background checks for customers.
"Whether it be at a gun show, a small shop, or over the internet, it is critical that we ensure those purchasing firearms are legally permitted to do so," Curbelo said. He also called on congressional leaders to push legislation to invest in mental-health treatment.
"By using executive authority to take these actions, the President has further politicized what should be a non-partisan issue," he said. "However we in Congress must act deliberately, with input from Members representing both urban neighborhoods and the sprawling countryside, to strike a balance between protecting Constitutional rights and keeping our communities safe."
Curbelo, a freshman and a moderate, represents a swing Westchester-to-Key West district that got more Democratic under a court-approved map that redrew political lines in Florida. He's already drawn a Democratic challenger, Annette Taddeo, with others in her party also considering candidacies.
Curbelo's office says he proposed one mental-health law, in September, that would put the issue on a postal stamp to raise awareness and fund neurological research. He's also co-sponsored five other bills.
UPDATE: Taddeo lambasted Curbelo for his statement, saying the congressman's words ring hollow when the GOP-controlled Congress has failed to take up any gun-control legislation.
The president "wouldn't be having to do this if the Republicans in Congress would do something," she said. "To say that this is political is just outrageous. I mean, say that to the people who have lost loved ones. Say that to the parents of Sandy Hook."
"Maybe it's political for Curbelo, since the NRA sent $67,000-plus for him to get elected," Taddeo added. "He loves to talk out of one side of his mouth in the district, but then goes to Washington and votes for a leadership that continues to do nothing. It's two-faced."