PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Gun reform, abortion rights and inflation are three major topics on Capitol Hill right now.

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) joined WMBD’s Matt Sheehan Friday morning to discuss all these topics, and more.

Question: Gun legislation is a major focus on Capitol Hill right now. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said he’s bringing a Red Flag law to the floor very soon. Will you support this bill?

LAHOOD: “As we look at the tragic events this week, and what happened in Buffalo, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims here on this really evil act that was perpetrated in Texas. It’s hard to conceptualize what happened there. In terms of what we do moving forward, we have to look at this from a multi-faceted approach,” U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood said.

“One, I’ve been a very strong supporter of mental health, behavioral health, that has to be a part of it. Secondly, enforcement of our current gun laws. I’m a former federal prosecutor, and I’ve prosecuted a lot of gun cases. Right now, on the books, you can’t be a convicted felon and own a weapon, you can’t be convicted of domestic violence and have a weapon, if you’ve suffered from mental illness or treated for mental illness, you can’t have a weapon. Those laws need to be enforced more thoroughly. Thirdly, school safety. As we unpack the facts and evidence of this incident, how do we make sure our schools are the safest place possible for our kids to go? That’s a big part of it. Lastly, looking at legislation. There’s a lot of talk about red flag laws, a lot of talk about background checks, on how that’d affect what happened in this instance. But there’s no doubt when you think about this from a common sense standpoint, the fact an 18-year-old, who can’t even buy a beer or rent a car, can go in and buy an assault weapon and all this ammunition. You gotta look at that.”

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL)

Question: President Biden said Congress needs to pass universal background checks, ban assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines. Do you support this? Why or why not?

LAHOOD: “If you look at Chicago right now, they have some of the toughest gun laws in the entire country, and they have record crime. Again, you have to look at a lot of these other issues as it results in what we do to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Looking at what happened in Texas, what happened in Buffalo, what can we change and look at to fix that? Again, when we get back next week, Congress will look at these issues and figure out the best way to do it. But I think it has to be a multi-faceted approach, looking at all these areas on how we fix these problems.”

Question: Republican candidates across the country are hoping for, and some receiving, President Trump’s endorsements. Is this something you hope to get?

LAHOOD: “I’m working hard in the 16th Congressional District. The good news is, I keep Central Illinois in that. I’ve had a lot of people endorse me in this race, we’ll see what happens on other endorsements. We’re working hard on the endorsement of the people in my District. I hope to achieve that in the June Primary.”

Question: You’re hosting Vice President Mike Pence for a dinner late June, tell us about that.

LAHOOD: “We’re having our Peoria/Tazewell Republican Lincoln Day Dinner on June 20th. We invited Vice President Mike Pence, I’m excited to have him. He’s a Midwesterner. Was former Governor of Indiana, Former Vice President. I have immense support for Vice President Mike Pence and we’re excited to have him here. It’s right before the Primary on June 28th. Excited to have his support in my race. I think we’ll have a great crowd in the event.”

Follow up question: Have you secured Mike Pence’s endorsement?

LAHOOD: “The reason he’s coming here is because he’s supportive of my campaign. We’re looking forward to hearing what he has to say. I’m proud to have his support in my race for re-election.”

Question: You’ve been a Congressman for nearly 7 years now. This next term, what’s your main priority?

LAHOOD: “We have to work on the bread and butter issues of inflation. There’s a lot of anxiety and stress out there on the high-cost of goods. No one thought this was going to happen. We have to figure out how we can bring down the cost through that. I think a lot of that goes back to energy independence. We can do that by opening the Keystone Pipeline. Doing a safe and environmentally-productive drilling of oil to bring down the price of gasoline. But gasoline affects input costs for farmers, fertilizer, phosphate, the materials they need to produce. Bringing down energy costs is first and foremost.

LaHood said the other part is economic development.

LAHOOD: “How do we give more money back to individuals? How do we help the economy get back to what it was pre-COVID? Remember Matt, prior to COVID, we had the best economy of my lifetime. We moved 6 million people out of poverty. We had record employment in this country, more people working than ever before. Lets get back to that economy. The federal government spends way too much money, that’s why we’re $30 trillion in debt, that has to be a focus. If I’m fortunate enough to get elected, I’ll continue to focus on that.”

Question: There’s been a lot of confusion when it comes to population in Illinois. At first we thought Illinois had lost in the census from 2010-2020. Then the Governor comes out and said that the PES, Post-Enumeration Survey, that we gained. He said we were over 13 million. The Bureau has said the PES did not change Illinois’ population, and that we remain about 12.8 million. Do you have any way to clear up confusion when it comes to federal funding? The Governor said hopefully from more population, we’ll get more funding.

LAHOOD: “I’ve been confused by this whole process. The fact that the Census Bureau screwed this up under the Biden Administration.”

Rep. LaHood said Gov. Pritzker ought to give responsibility to the Biden Administration on all this confusion.

“What happens when you don’t have that population, you miss out on grants and federal funding and opportunities when our population gets lowered. If that was done inappropriately, or wrong, somebody ought to be held accountable for that. We’ve been pushing, on the federal side in Congress, to have this looked at and make sure this doesn’t happen again. And if we are missing out on federal dollars, we ought to be able to claw that back and get that back for the State of Illinois. We’re going to continue to push on the Biden Administration to make sure the right numbers are accurate.”

Part of this interview aired Friday, May 27, on WMBD News at Noon. A longer-form version aired on WMBD News at 4.

The Illinois Primary Election is June 28.