Dem Senator Uses Santa Barbara Shooting To Urge Stricter Gun Laws

Brendan Bordelon | Contributor

Democratic Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal harnessed Friday’s tragic mass shooting and stabbing in Santa Barbara, California, to push for tighter laws on guns, with the lawmaker warning that “Congress will be complicit if we fail to act.”

Blumenthal appeared Sunday on CBS’ “Face The Nation” to discuss the killings, which left nine people dead in the California college town. Although the killer did not use an assault weapon or the kind of ammo clips gun control proponents tried to ban in the wake of the Newtown shooting, the Democratic senator repeatedly tied Friday’s tragedy to lax gun regulations.

“I hope, I really sincerely hope that this tragedy — this unimaginable, unspeakable tragedy — will provide an impetus to bring back measures that would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who are severely troubled or deranged like this young man was,” he said.

He added that the consensus between Republicans and Democrats for greater access to mental health resources could be “a point of consensus” on gun control in Congress. “90 percent of the American people want background checks to be heard, to be responded to and to end the madness and insanity,” he said.

When host Major Garrett pointed out that none of the gun restrictions proposed in Congress would’ve stopped Friday’s shooting, Blumenthal stood his ground.

“The legislation that failed to pass — it got support from 55 senators — would have provided a mental health initiative with more resources, greater ability for the Santa Barbara police to intervene — to use the sheriff’s word — to have professionals trained in diagnosing and detecting this kind of derangement,” he said.

“Obviously not every kind of gun violence is going to be prevented by laws coming out of Washington,” he explained, “but at least we can make a start. And I am going to urge that we bring back those bills — maybe reconfigure them to center on mental health, which is a point where we can agree that we need more resources to make the country healthier and to make sure that these kinds of horrific, insane, mad occurrences are stopped.”

“And Congress will be complicit if we fail to act,” he warned.

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