The Wednesday morning shooting that left the House Majority Whip and three others wounded won’t change the way Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) conducts business when he is at home in the Upstate.
Duncan, who left a Republican baseball team practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity just minutes before a gunman opened fire on the team, said in a conference call later Wednesday that he still wants to be accessible to his constituency.
“The last thing we need to do is limit our accessibility to the people we represent,” Duncan said. “We represent 700,000 people in South Carolina and we need to be accessible.
Duncan’s Third Congressional District stretches from the Midlands near Lewisville to the upper edges of the state in Oconee and Greenville counties. When he returns home, he is in largely friendly territory with strong GOP support.
Wednesday’s shooting also evoked memories of the 2011 shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was severely wounded, during a constituents event at a Tucson grocery store. Six people were killed, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
Duncan was a freshman congressman in 2011 and recalled few if any changes in his office after the Giffords shooting.
“We didn’t change a whole lot in our office,” he said. “One thing we do regularly is we are very active with local law enforcement. Whether we’re speaking at a Rotary Club or at a listening session, we let law enforcement know, and they’ve always been very supportive.
“So, I don’t think we’re going to do anything different as far as how we operate.”
But Duncan admitted that things could change in Washington, D.C.
He said he feels very safe on Capitol Hill – and had always felt safe on a baseball field until Wednesday’s events began to unfold.
“I don’t know if (the Republican baseball team) will practice in Alexandria anymore or if we’ll go to a more secure facility,” he said.