Senator Shelby talks NASA, defense and gun violence during annual Washington Update

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - United States Senator Richard Shelby had nothing but nice things to say about the people, industry, and innovation in north Alabama. He came to Huntsville on Tuesday for the annual Washington Update.

Hundreds of people packed the Von Braun Center's North Hall to listen to an update from their Shelby, face to face.

"He has been a big proponent and is a major reason we have had all of the additions out at Redstone Arsenal, and most recently with the FBI," Madison County GOP Chairman Sam Givhan said. "It's just important that we come out and we show our appreciation for Senator Shelby."

Senator Shelby was here for a Washington Update, but hardly mentioned the nation's capital. He did talk about NASA's Space Launch System, defense and a growing FBI footprint in north Alabama.

"Redstone Arsenal is a safe place for the FBI to do research dealing with bombs," Shelby said. "These are not FBI agents in the field, these are scientists and engineers."

Audience members expressed satisfaction in a senator who understands the people he represents.

"Recommitment to the SLS for NASA is very important as well as additional funding for our military team that's here," John Allen, CEO with Huntsville Committee of 100, said. "So his support of those over the years has made us successful as a community."

Shelby did not shy away from questions on the topic of gun violence threatening America. That included a possible change to background checks.

"I think we ought to tighten up on that and see what we can do within the auspices of the second amendment rights that we're guaranteed in the constitution," Shelby said.

Shelby did add that fighting gun violence, especially among children, takes all of us, not just lawmakers.

"We've got to be a lot more vigilant when we hear about a child in school that makes threats, you've got to follow-up on it," Shelby said. "There was some evidence that nobody followed up on the threats dealing with the young man in Florida. Secondly, and I said this earlier, I believe that when people commit crimes with guns they should be severely punished."

Shelby says he's willing to work for solutions, but he is a "second amendment guy."