Andrea Mitchell Reports, 1/8/13, 7:00 PM ET

How can America solve its gun problem

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., explains her support for reauthorizing an assault weapons ban and other new gun control measures. Klobuchar also comments on the Hagel nomination and the Violence Against Women Act.

Klobuchar: Decrease in mental health care is a factor in gun violence

Updated
By Alice S. Rhee

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., appeared on Andrea Mitchell Reports Wednesday pushing for policymakers to more aggressively study the link between mental illness and gun violence prevention.

A USA Today report out this week assessed the nation’s mental health care, assigning the country with a “D” grade nationally. In response to the poor ranking, Klobuchar pointed to the decrease in services to the mentally ill and the failings of background checks in preventing gun crimes.

“That was the issue in Virginia Tech, where we have now 19 states that have less than 100 records they’ve submitted for the background check national system to buy a gun,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “But the other piece of this is mental illness. And I think we should look at some of the violence in our culture, and whether it’s video games and how we can do better ratings systems, and empower parents to make decisions about what their kids watch, those things should all be in the mix. “

Klobuchar also backs the re-authorization of the 1994 Assault Weapons ban and the push being led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who was one of the original co-sponsors and authors of the bill.

The Minnesota Democrat is also examining a broader mix of policy prescriptions. “You have the issue, of course, of the high-capacity magazines, and if we can put some limits there. Each of these shootings, you need to look at the facts. I’m a prosecutor, I believe in looking at evidence. And when you look at the evidence, you’ll see a vast number of things that can be solutions here,” said Klobuchar.

Andrea Mitchell also pressed Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on whether she believes former Sen. Chuck Hagel will be confirmed to lead the Pentagon.

“You’ve seen a number of senators that are open-minded and want to hear his answers and give full consideration to his nomination,” Klobuchar said. “And I was just concerned that this kept going without a nominee, and now there is a nominee for both positions and all of these concerns, as they should be, should be considered in the process.”

Pressed further, Klobuchar would only add: “I have no crystal ball, I wouldn’t have thought we were going to be in the Senate at 2:00 in the morning on New Year’s Eve. I never would have thought that. So I think right now that’s–I don’t think anyone can really say.”

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Klobuchar: Decrease in mental health care is a factor in gun violence

Updated