Fact Check-Statement from Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko on protecting her grandchildren is missing context 

Hundreds of social media users are sharing a clip of remarks made by U.S. Republican Representative Debbie Lesko where she is heard saying she would do anything to protect her grandchildren, and the clip includes the phrase “including, as a last resort, shooting them.” Posts on social media claim Lesko meant she would shoot her own family, but Lesko told Reuters the word “them” was “referring to violent criminals”.

Contacted by Reuters, Lesko clarified that she was not referring to her grandchildren in that phrase. “Any other interpretation of what I said is ridiculous,” she said via email.

A tweet with the clip has garnered at least 6,000 retweets ( here ). Other iterations are viewable ( here )( here ) ( here ).

“Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) is emblematic of what we are up against. She uses her grandchildren-and her alleged right to shoot them-as an example of why gun control is bad,” a Facebook user wrote (here)

“This lunatic is congresswoman Debbie Lesko. She loves guns so much she says she would shoot her own grandkids ‘if I had to’,” a Twitter user commented (here )

The moment traces back to a June 9 session of the U.S. House of Representatives on discussions about a federal "red flag" law that would keep firearms from potentially dangerous people. (here )

Her full speech is viewable between timestamp 30:43 and 32:26 (here ). Around timestamp 30:50 she is heard saying:

“I have five grandchildren. I would do anything, anything to protect my five grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting them if I had to protect the lives of my grandchildren. Democrat bills that we have heard this week want to take away my right, my right to protect my grandchildren.”

In another video, also posted on June 9, in which she repeats almost the same speech, Lesko clearly states she would shoot others, not her grandchildren.

In the 2-minute-clip viewable on Facebook and YouTube (here), ( she is heard saying: “I have five grandchildren and I would do anything to protect my grandchildren, including as a last resort shooting the killer, because that's what a grandmother does.”


Missing context. U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko was referring to shooting those threatening her grandchildren, not her grandchildren themselves.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .