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'If babies had guns they wouldn't be aborted.' Is Rep. Steve Stockman serious?

Rep. Steve Stockman sees himself as a conservative insurgent and likes to shock. But his new bumper sticker promoting his pro-gun and anti-abortion views might have a specific agenda.

By Staff writer / April 14, 2013

Musician Ted Nugent (l.) was a guest of Rep. Steve Stockman (R) of Texas at the State of the Union this year.

Jason Reed/Reuters/File

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Rep. Steve Stockman (R) of Texas touts himself as "the most conservative congressman in Texas." His new bumper sticker should erase any doubts.

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On Friday, Representative Stockman's Twitter account unveiled his new campaign bumper sticker: "If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted. Vote Pro-Life!"

For Stockman, the bluntness and the desire to shock are nothing new.

It was Stockman who invited gun enthusiast Ted Nugent to be his guest at President Obama's State of the Union address in February. This is the Ted Nugent who once said: "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."

Later, in a YouTube video chat with Mr. Nugent, Stockman asked about the victims of gun violence that Mr. Obama had invited to the State of the Union: "Do you feel that the people that Obama have brought forward to hear his speech, do you feel like they are useful idiots or props in this?" (The video has since been removed, the New York Daily News reports.)

Stockman is an agitator, and social media has given him broader scope to portray himself as a "defender of the cause." And like former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, who once likened his conservative opponent to the Taliban and who said Republicans' health care plan amounted to "die quickly," Stockman apparently relishes in bringing the inflammatory tone of the blogosphere into public discourse.

On Fox News, he once likened Obama to Saddam Hussein. At the time, he was speaking about how he thought Obama should be impeached if he went forward with executive orders on gun control.

Stockman's new bumper sticker, while intentionally over the top, does hint at the mood of some Americans upset by proposed gun control legislation in states and before the Senate. One sheriff in Colorado has vowed not to enforce that state's new gun control laws. Many other sheriffs have vowed not to enforce any new gun laws that come from Washington.

Moreover, many states with legislatures shaped by the tea party revolution of 2010 are embarking on an aggressive campaign to roll back abortion rights. In March, North Dakota banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat could be detected – which could be as early as six weeks.

But the real reason Stockman made his bumper sticker appears to go beyond the current conservative political winds. After all, with a year and a half until his next election, now is hardly the time to fire up a reelection campaign.

Instead, the clue as to why Stockman felt the need to make his bumper sticker comes at the end of his tweet. It is a hashtag that reads: "#gosnell."

Kermit Gosnell is the physician accused of running an abortion clinic that offered late-term abortions. The grand jury report in the case is horrific, depicting a clinic in which viable babies were delivered and deliberately killed in conditions that were unsanitary and unimaginably gruesome.

It is a trial that confirms the worst fears of abortion foes, and Stockman, like many other conservatives, suggests that the media has shown its pro-abortion-rights bias by not reporting on the trial.

A shocking trial deserves a shocking bumper sticker, perhaps.

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