LAS VEGAS (AP) — U.S. Sen. Dean Heller promised to protect the right to bear arms and fight against government bloat during a joint session of the Nevada Legislature on Thursday.
Heller, a Republican, said that instead of debating new gun bans, politicians should work to curtail violent images in movies and video games.
“Rather than limiting our access to guns or nitpicking high-capacity magazine clips, Congress should take on a larger issue - Hollywood,” he said in Carson City. “If Washington is not talking about the violence in movies, on television and in video games, then what are they doing?”
Heller, a former assemblyman, also pledged to fight inefficiency and overindulgence in government. As an example, he said he was told to repaint and re-carpet his Capitol Hill office even though it looked fine to him.
“I’m sure you would agree this seems wasteful,” he said. “How is the Senate supposed to help impose fiscal responsibility if the institution itself is wasting dollars?”
The solution, Heller said, was to audit the Senate for waste.
Earlier this month, CQ Roll Call reported that Heller’s staffers had used stalling tactics in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to prevent Heller’s unusually large office from going to a more senior senator. Heller’s spokeswoman denied the claims.
The Carson City lawmaker was in the middle of his third congressional term when he was appointed to the Senate in 2011. He stepped in to fill the seat of John Ensign, who resigned suddenly amid a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into corruption charges.
Heller retained his Senate seat in November after a bitter campaign against former Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley, of Las Vegas. He won by about 12,000 votes in an election where more than 45,000 votes were cast for “none of the above.”
On Thursday, Heller spoke about the seven Marines who were killed in a mortar shell explosion during training in Nevada earlier this month. He said he had visited five Marines and a sailor injured in the accident and had been inspired by their positive attitude and “tenacity for life.”
“We owe these soldiers a great deal of respect,” he said, adding that he would work to help military veterans find jobs and claim the medical benefits they are due.
More than 13 percent of Nevada veterans are unemployed, compared with about 10 percent in the country as a whole, he said.
All members of Nevada’s congressional delegation traditionally speak to lawmakers when the Legislature is in session every two years. In 2011, Sen. Harry Reid generated snickers in the gallery when he said it was time for the state to abolish it’s tolerance of legal prostitution in rural counties.