During an interview with CNN on Thursday, presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said the issue in the wake of the shooting in Virginia is not guns, but mental illness.
“This isn’t a gun problem, this is a mental problem,” Trump said. “It’s not a question of the laws, it’s really the people.”
“In the old days they had mental institutions for people like this because he was really, definitely borderline and definitely would have been and should have been institutionalized,” Trump told CNN. “At some point somebody should have seen that, I mean the people close to him should have seen it.”
Pressed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo on the gun issue, Trump said he supports the Constitution. “I’m a very strong 2nd Amendment person,” he said.
New Offensive Against Second Amendment
The father of the slain reporter told Fox News the government has to do something about guns and mental illness.
“I’m not going to let this issue drop,” Andy Parker told Megyn Kelly of Fox News. “We’ve got to do something about crazy people getting guns.”
Democrats seized the tragedy to push a renewed effort to restrict the Second Amendment.
Within hours of the fatal shooting, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for anti-gun legislation.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe also called for restricting access to firearms. “There are too many guns in the hands of people that shouldn’t have guns,” McAuliffe said during an interview. “There is too much gun violence in America,” he said, and called for additional background check legislation.
Josh Earnest, Obama’s press secretary, reiterated the administration’s support for new laws.
“While there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country, there are some commonsense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country,” he said.
Few Republicans countered Democrat calls for further crippling the Second Amendment.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, however, addressed the growing chorus of Democrats who are once again pushing anti-gun legislation.
“They never stop. That’s one of the things that’s so frustrating to people is that they don’t stop and it’s always about the gun. It’s never about the person that is pulling the trigger of that gun,” Blackburn said during an interview.
“They don’t want it to be about the person that grabs the knife and does the stabbing. They don’t want it to ever be seen in that way,” she said.
“It’s always got to be about the gun and the fact that there was just a person that got hold of the gun. This fits into their agenda to get rid of our Second Amendment rights.”
Blackburn echoed Trump in her insistence the issue is about mental illness, not the Second Amendment.
“The thing is, its mental illness. It is political correctness that so many times causes or allows people to say ‘Well, it wasn’t the person’s fault, it was the gun’s fault.’ What we need to do is realize that that is not the reason,” Blackburn said.