The Latest: Obama calls for gun safety laws after shooting
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the gun control debate in Congress after the Florida school shooting (all times local):
Former President Barack Obama is calling for “common-sense gun safety laws” following Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida.
Obama tweeted Thursday: “We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job.”
He tweeted, “And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.”
The former Democratic president held office though multiple mass shootings. He pushed to tighten access to firearms but was blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says that after the school shooting in Florida, people should “think less about taking sides” and more about pulling together.
He’s also defending legislation to effectively allow nationwide concealed gun permits, a top priority of the National Rifle Association. House Republicans have tied that measure to a bill intended to fix the government’s instant background check system.
Ryan says expanding concealed carry laws is a good “self-defense” measure, and he blames the Senate for not acting to address loopholes in the instant background check system.
The speaker was asked whether authorities should be able to confiscate guns from mentally ill people. Ryan said, “This is not the time to jump to some conclusion not knowing the full facts.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he’ll speak to President Donald Trump and the Cabinet about gun violence. Mnuchin faced grilling from several Democrats Thursday following the latest tragedy in Florida.
Mnuchin was testifying on the president’s budget. Democratic congressman John Lewis of Georgia asked if Trump’s budget would spend money to deal with gun violence.
Mnuchin called the school shooting a tragedy and said, “I urge Congress to look at this issue.”
But that seems at odds with the White House, which has not responded to mass shootings by seeking more money to curb gun violence.
Lewis said the government must do more. Mnuchin responded, “I assure you, I appreciate the tragedy and the severity. I will speak to the president and other Cabinet members.”
Democratic lawmakers are responding to the deadly Florida school shooting with calls for expanded background checks. They also want to create a committee to examine gun violence.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says, “We hope that we will have more than a moment of silence.”
Yet attempts to pass stricter gun laws have gone nowhere in recent years.
Rep. Mike Thompson of California has been leading Democratic efforts on gun control. Thompson is a gun owner who says the U.S. is in the midst of a crisis. He adds “You can’t turn around without there being a mass shooting.”
Thompson’s also criticizing Republicans for how Congress has responded to the shootings, saying they should be embarrassed that GOP leaders “wouldn’t address this issue.”