SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Congressman Buddy Carter, a Republican from Georiga’s 1st district knew why reporters had gathered in the hallway Monday of a hotel where he was slated to speak at the Rotary Club. He knew it was to answer questions about the latest mass shootings, two in one day in El Paso, Texas, and then in Dayton, Ohio. A total of 31 people died.
President Trump addressed the violence, putting blame on the Internet, social media and violent video games but seemed vague on gun reforms. Trump did say more should be done to prevent those already identified as having mental health problems from gaining access to weapons.
Carter said he supported the president’s comments, especially in terms of mental health. “First of all, we’ve got to make sure that people who shouldn’t have guns don’t get guns, second of all we’ve got to quit glorifying violence, have you seen some of those video games? They’re unbelievable,” he said.
“We’ve also got to make sure that we address mental health in our society and we’ve got to do a better job with that. We have done a few things in Congress in the past few years to address mental health but we’ve got to do even more,” said the congressman.
Carter says more can and should be done to prevent someone already recognized with a mental health problem from getting a weapon. “We have to make sure that we are denying people who shouldn’t have these weapons the right to have those weapons,” he said.
South Carolina Congressman Joe Cunningham criticized Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell who had tweeted his concerns about the mass shootings. Cunningham tweeted back that if McConnell is so concerned “he should do something like consider a backgrounds check bill already passed in the House.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham says he’s working on “Red Flag Protection Order” legislation that would assist law enforcement to step in and do something about many (mental health) situations.
“Many of these shootings involved individuals who showed signs of violent behavior that are either ignored or not followed up. State Red Flag laws will provide the tools for law enforcement to do something about many of these situations before it’s too late,” Graham said. “I will introduce this legislation in the very near future with Senator Blumenthal and hope that my Republican and Democratic colleagues will join us to finally move forward in the effort to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”
Graham also said he “appreciates President Trump’s strong statement rejecting hate and white supremacist ideology, urging us all to reject a culture of violence, as well as a call to action on multiple fronts.”
South Carolina’s other Republican Senator Tim Scott told us, “White nationalism is domestic terrorism and has no place in America. It is fundamentally against all that we have worked for, antithetical to the American creed, and is a stain on our national identity. We must identify and root out this evil—period. Anything less is an injustice. We are the UNITED States of America and we must be united not only in name, but in resolve.”
However, Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut tweeted that “President Trump is literally making up causes of gun violence in America. America does not have more mental illness than other developed nations. We don’t have more violent video games. What we have is a hate machinery that President Trump feeds on almost daily and a country awash in guns and weak laws.”
Carter took exception to the idea that Trump’s tweets or rallies may have amped up the violent rhetoric. “I do not agree with that,” said Carter. “I don’t think that you can blame this on politicians, this is a societal problem we’ve got to address and we’ve got to look for early warning signs.”