Skip to main content

Kansas resolution condemns state rep who suggested immigrants be shot

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Democrats in Kansas' state legislature offer a resolution regarding Virgil Peck
  • It condemns Peck for saying shooting might solve "our illegal immigrant problem"
  • Peck later promised to be "more careful with my words in the future"
  • A Latino advocacy group calls the resolution "a mere slap on the wrist"

(CNN) -- Democratic leaders in Kansas' state legislature plan to introduce a resolution condemning a state representative for earlier suggesting that illegal immigrants be shot like feral hogs.

The resolution -- which was e-mailed Friday to CNN by Haley Pollock, a spokeswoman for Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis -- singles out Rep. Virgil Peck for comments he made March 14 during an appropriations committee hearing.

"Although Rep. Peck has the right to free speech ... that right does not include the advocacy of gratuitous, deadly violence against other human beings," the resolution states.

The Republican representative's controversial comments were in reference to an agricultural program that controls the state's feral hog program by shooting them from helicopters.

"Looks to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigrant problem," Peck said.

That remark spared the ire of residents and officials from Kansas to Washington. Peck was largely tight-lipped afterwards, except for a brief statement he made three days later in which he acknowledged he'd made "an inappropriate comment."

"For that, I'm sorry, and I apologize to anyone that I offended," said the politician from Tyro, Kansas. "I'll be more careful with my words in the future."

The next day, Davis urged Peck to resign "and allow someone who will respect the proper role of a state representative to take his place."

The new House resolution stops far short of expediting Peck's ouster from the legislature, serving more as a public reprimand should it pass. It calls his statements since the remarks inadequate, saying he did not "display the remorse that is necessary to remedy this wrong."

"Human immigration is an important part of our past and our future," the resolution states. "Endorsing violent acts against any individual or group cannot be tacitly or explicitly condoned or seen as condoned by those who hold leadership positions, either by their words or their silence."

Joaquin Guerra -- a campaign director of Presente.org, which describes itself as an advocacy group promoting the political empowerment of Hispanics -- in a statement accused Peck of "treating Latinos and immigrants as pigs."

The organization claimed that it had gotten more than 50,000 petitions calling for Peck's resignation and action by political leaders in Kansas. It criticized the resolution being offered by Kansas Democrats as too weak.

"A state resolution condemning Peck's comments is merely a slap to the wrist and only compliments Peck's dangerous race baiting promotion of hatred and violence," Guerra said. "Unequivocably and unquestionably ... Virgil Peck must resign."