Dem Rep Speier: School Shooting Focus on Mental Illness ‘Fundamentally Ignorant’

The renewed debate over gun control continues after a man with a history of mental illness killed 17 people at a Florida high school on Wednesday, including the left-wing media narrative that federal gun laws are needed to quell the violence.

On National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday, Host Scott Simon interviewed Republican Florida State Senator Dennis Baxley about legislation he sponsored to deal with school shootings like the one that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Simon asked Baxley why his legislation did not include a provision to make a mental health assessment.

Baxley explained that he is adding such a provision to the legislation.

“I’ve actually pulled this bill back because I want to look at every option,” Baxley said. “What we’re dealing with is the fact with a gun-free zone, we have inadvertently made these students a sterile target.”

“And they enter this campus knowing no one is prepared to stop them,” Baxley said. “And I’m very interested in what happens in that first five minutes so that we could prevent an incident from becoming a massacre.”

The interview as followed by one with Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who was apparently scheduled to respond to the latest FBI revelation that 13 Russian nationals have been indicted for interference in the 2016 presidential election.

But Speier wanted to respond to Baxley’s interview, including blaming the National Rifle Association and gun ownership.

“I’m just furious that the NRA has so infiltrated every state legislature, the Congress of the United States that we can’t even have a sane conversation,” Speier said. “The reason why 17 kids are dead today, and their parents are screaming and crying on TV, and there are another 15 injured is because that young man had an assault weapon, and he was able to discharge as many bullets as he did.”

According to officials, three of the dead were adults on staff at the school.

Speier continued to press gun control and dismiss mental health issues in the interview.

“We have got to start with putting back in place that assault weapon ban,” Speier said. “No kid needs an assault weapon.”

“No adult needs an assault weapon,” Speier said. “And we’ve got to do a whole lot more than that, but to somehow think that this is a mental health issue is just fundamentally ignorant.”

“So few of these cases would be addressed by a mental health screen,” Speir said. “And I think we’ve got to get real about this.”

Simon also pushed the gun control narrative in his interview with Baxley.

“Senator, I have to ask, is that really a reliable, practical way to try and cut down on school shootings – to tell students, don’t worry. Someone will be along to shoot the guy who’s trying to shoot you? Doesn’t that seem just to invite more firepower?” Simon asked.

“No,” Baxley said. “What happens is we call law enforcement, and they get there as quick as they can. But in many settings, what happens in that first five minutes has already determined the direction of the event escalating.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke about mental illness’s role in these kinds of events last week.

Breitbart News reported:

“I believe very strongly in enforcing gun laws. I believe there’s no value in having them on the books if they’re not prosecuted,” [Sessions] said.

He noted that federal gun prosecutions had increased 23% on his watch. “We’ll step that up even more,” he said.

Rather than new gun legislation, Sessions suggested that new executive policies focused on mental health problems could make a difference.

“We think that would include working with the mental health community, and the education community, and the homeland security community,” he said.

Multiple sources have reported that 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz had a history of mental illness and run-ins with law enforcement before the attack.

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