Two days after a devastating mass shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert is insisting that guns are not to blame.
In an interview Tuesday night with Newsmax, Gohmert criticized the left’s push for stricter gun control, and said that the way mental health is handled in America is more to blame than firearms.
“I see a lot of problems here and blaming this on guns is like saying the big problem with obesity is we’ve got too many spoons,” Gohmert said. “It’s not the spoons, it’s not the guns. It’s the people who have them. There’s a lot of things that need to be done, but one of them is to deal with the mental health of people who have guns.”
A study released Wednesday by the American Journal of Medicine found that the U.S., which has more guns per person than any other country in the world, and also has the highest rate of deaths from firearms. The study acknowledges that there is a positive correlation between mental illness and firearm-related deaths, but it was “of borderline significance in a multivariable model.”
“It seems conceivable that abundant gun availability facilitates firearm-related deaths,” the study concludes.
Gohmert also argued that the presence of guns is not the issue when it comes to a mass shooting, but rather violent video games that causes “trouble distinguishing between what is reality and what isn’t”—an argument echoed on Fox News earlier on Tuesday by Fox & Friends host Elizabeth Hasselback.
“What about frequency testing?” Hasselback asked. “How often is this game being played? I’m not one to say, ‘Get in there and monitor everything,’ but if this is indeed a strong link to mass killings, then why aren’t we looking at frequency of purchases per person, and also how often they’re playing.”
But a video game registry is unlikely to preempt the next mass shooting: multiple studies analyzing the relationship between violent video games and violence in real life have shown that there is no real link between the two. In South Korea, which has more than twice the video game spending per capita than the United States, the firearm-related death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people; the firearm-related death rate in the U.S. is 10.3 per 100,000 people.