In the wake of this week’s shooting at a Florida high school that left at least 17 students and faculty dead, many Americans are once again expressing outrage over the perceived lack of action by lawmakers in response to continued acts of mass violence.
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy said he sympathizes with their pleas for an answer but has not seen a bill he believes would realistically prevent mass shootings.
As the Daily Caller reported, the South Carolina Republican made his remarks during a Fox News Channel interview Thursday, the day after police say 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at his former school in Parkland.
Gowdy began by apologizing to the young Americans growing up amid such rampant gun violence.
“The first thing I would say to this generation of children is how sorry I am,” he said. “You have witnessed school shootings, mall shootings, concert shootings. There is no place that seems safe in our society.”
He went on to say that he would happily sign any bill that “would prevent the next mass shooting,” but echoed Sen. Marco Rubio’s argument that more facts are needed about the most recent one before rushing to pass gun control legislation.
“You’ve got to find out how he accessed the gun, you’ve got to find out whether or not there was a data point at some point in his background where someone could have reported it, whether or not he accessed the gun legally or illegally,” Gowdy said.
Rubio offered similar reasoning in comments he made Thursday on Capitol Hill, according to CNN.
“If we do something, it should be something that works,” the Florida Republican said. “And the struggle up to this point has been that most of the proposals that have been offered would not have prevented, not just yesterday’s tragedy, but any of those in recent history. Just because these proposals would not have prevented these does not mean that we, therefore, raise our hands and say, ‘Therefore, there’s nothing we can do.'”
Instead of advocating for new laws at this point, Gowdy told host Bill Hemmer that he wants to ensure America is enforcing those laws already on the books.
“Usually at about this time, Bill, we hear about the gun show loophole,” he said. “Fine, close the gun show loophole, but how many mass killings have resulted from guns purchased at gun shows?”
Gowdy said his position is not based on a reluctance to act, but a response to proposals he does not believe would be effective.
“If you can show me a law that will prevent the next mass killing, go ahead and sign me up for it,” he said.
Hemmer responded by sharing the concerns of those who say “the topic itself is forgotten” after the facts of a particular tragedy have been revealed.
“Before we begin to advocate for new laws, I think it is imminently fair to say, ‘How are we doing enforcing the ones we currently have?'” Gowdy replied.
He noted that Congress has been active on this front, making it clear to the Justice Department that the downward trend in gun prosecutions under President Barack Obama needs to be reversed.
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