In the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting, outrage has fueled national conversation as grieving family, friends, and viewers alike learn of the FBI’s knowledge of “warning signs” regarding shooter Nikolas Cruz.
One of those voices adding his opinion to the conversation is that of Republican Sen. James Lankford, who stated that every sign of Cruz’s instability was there and the FBI did nothing about it.
Speaking on Sunday to NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Lankford stated that those left to deal with this tragedy, such as family and friends, have every right to express their confusion and anger at the tragic outcome — especially when it could have easily been prevented.
“And people in Parkland and all across the country have every reason to be grieved and incredibly furious,” Lankford said. “Social Services was in this home more than 20 times. Expelled from school, posted online, went into a school shooting, had warned the FBI.”
“All the warning signs were there. The community did all the things that the community should do to be able to engage,” Lankford said, referring to Cruz’s YouTube comment that was reported to the FBI by vlogger Ben Bennight.
“They saw something, they said something,” he added. “And nothing was done.”
Lankford’s sentiments are similar to those of grieving families and frustrated American citizens throughout the country, who are calling for stricter gun-rights and expressing their concern over the seemingly lax establishment the FBI has become.
Host Chuck Todd forwarded similar questions to the senator that the nation has been asking: Will Congress do anything about it?
Though the senator couldn’t speak for others, he admitted that he has signed on to a bipartisan legislation to fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or “Fix NICS,” sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn.
“That is the first thing of multiple things that need to be done,” Lankford stated. “That is, fixing our background check system to make sure that all information is actually getting in there.”
Lankford added that there are still some federal and state agencies that are not documenting the much-needed information into the NICS system, a mistake that eventually leads to tragedies such as the one in Florida.
“I have no issue with more extensive background checks,” Lankford said. “I have no issue with slowing down purchases for people that show all the basic warning signs.”
Though Lankford admitted that only the court can take away a constitutional right, such as the right to bear arms, he suggested that courts could — and should — step in to further check in on other issues such as mental health.
“There are ways to be able to do this to make sure that we keep the system clean and clear,” he said. “It is a major issue in the country, making sure that we have background checks, but (making sure) the background checks have all the information that’s needed on it.”
On Monday, the Trump administration agreed to support the measures of fixing NICS, though controversy is continually fueled by both gun-rights activists and those that support stricter gun laws.
And though the Oklahoma senator was adamant about protecting the rights of gun owners, he also acknowledged the bigger problem of those with criminal histories, mental instability, or violent backgrounds being allowed to own a gun in the first place, no matter if it’s a pistol or an AR-15.
“The problem is not owning an AR-15,” Lankford concluded. “It’s the person that owns it.”
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