Rick Perry called gun-free zones a "bad idea" in response to last week's deadly movie theater shooting in Lafayette, La., and said allowing people to bring guns to the movies "makes a lot of sense."
"I think that you allow the citizens of this country who have been appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded know how to handle and use fire arms to carry them," the Republican presidential candidate said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday.
Perry's comments come days after a gunman opened fire in a popular theater in Louisiana, killing two women and injuring nine others before taking his own life.
When asked by host Jake Tapper whether allowing patrons to bring guns to movie theater would be a "solution to the problem," Perry said it "makes a lot of sense to send a message across this country."
"We need to enforce the laws that are on the book," Perry said, citing the Second Amendment. "If we believe in people’s rights to protect themselves and their families—to tell them they cannot carry a weapon that they are legally obliged to carry, that they have been through the training for, makes no sense to me."
The gun debate has widened with the frequency of shootings, particularly in gun-free zones like the theater in Lafayette Thursday, the Charleston, South Carolina Church in June and U.S. naval base in Tennessee this month.
President Barack Obama just hours before the Lafayette shooting proposed stricter gun laws through Congress.
"If you ask me where is the one area where I feel that I have been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient, common sense, gun safety laws,” Obama told BBC.
And the spotlight is on the 2016 presidential candidate to address how the U.S. can regulate the sale of legal fire arms and prevent the wrong people from obtaining them.
"We see individuals who were obviously mentally impacted. These were individuals who were I think that somewhere somebody didn’t do their job in the stand point if enforcing the laws that are on the book," Perry said on CNN.
Asked what more can the government can do to make sure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands, Perry added "I think we have the laws in place. Enforcement of those laws is what seems to be lacking – both in Charleston and here in Lafayette, La."