Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is urging Congress to revive the debate over gun control legislation in the wake of the deadly, mass shooting near Santa Barbara, Calif. over the weekend.
“We need more resources to make the country healthier and to make sure that these kinds of horrific, insane, mad occurrences are stopped. And the Congress will be complicit if we fail to act,” the Democrat said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. He specifically mentioned background checks and better mental health resources.
Blumenthal was a strong proponent for new measures restricting the sales of firearms after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Such legislation never passed Congress.
Blumenthal said on CBS that the shootings were eerily reminiscent of those in Newtown.
“I really, sincerely hope that this tragedy, this unimaginable, unspeakable tragedy will provide an impetus to bring back measures that will keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who are severely troubled or deranged like this young man was, and provide resources,” he said.
In California, authorities said 22-year-old gunman Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger stabbed three people to death at his apartment on Friday night before opening fire from his car. The rampage left seven people dead and several more injured in the town of Isla Vista. He died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said.
Blumenthal said mental health reforms could be the first step in effort to bring more Republicans to the table to find “common ground.”
Republican John Thune of South Dakota, who was also on the show, agreed with Blumenthal about mental health resources but did not call for stronger background checks.
“This was a horrific act of violence that involved not only shooting, but stabbings,” said Thune, adding more specifics of the mass shooting are yet to be made public. We need to “ensure that we have policies in place that will allow people with mental health issues like these to be diagnosed and to be treated…I think that’s something on which there is agreement and that’s where we ought to be focusing our efforts,” Thune said.