(AL.com) — Gunfire shattered the tranquility of a light-hearted baseball practice outside Washington on Wednesday, wounding five people that included House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
It's the latest in what's been a series of public shootings across the country in recent years - events that have stirred the gun debate in the U.S. in the aftermath.
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks saw the shooting up close - too close - at the workout the day before the annual Congressional baseball game at Nationals Park. That experience, however, hasn't shaken him from his position as a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment.
"My position on the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms is absolutely unchanged," Brooks said in a Wednesday interview with AL.com. "The second amendment has an obvious downside when you have shooters like you saw today or have seen at Sandy Hook or so many places around the United States.
"But the Second Amendment's benefit of protecting Americans from an out-of-control central government, from a dictatorship, has been time proven to be successful for over 240 years."
The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook - a school in Newtown, Connecticut - left 20 children and six adults dead.
Even in the same state as Wednesday's shooting in Alexandria, Va., outside Washington, 32 people were gunned down at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in 2007.
As Brooks acknowledged the "obvious downside" to the freedom to own guns, he said the benefit is far greater.
"I hate the adverse side to the Second Amendment right to bear arms," Brooks said. "But we may lose all of our freedoms at some point in history if we eliminate the right to bear arms that protect us from someone taking over control of the United States government.
"It's not a major risk but if it happens, there is a huge downside to that. Our founding fathers saw that. They understood the risk of a totalitarian regime. They had seen it in other nations around the world. And I'm thankful they have the Second Amendment embodied in our Bill of Rights."