Tuesday on CNN’s “Newsroom,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said more gun control was not needed to address mass shootings. Instead, he called for more “idiot control.”
Kennedy argued state and federal employees need to comply with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) system.
Partial transcript as follows:
BERMAN: We’re talking about this measure before the Senate, that at least the number two in the Senate, John Cornyn, wants to bring up, which is you know, called the fix NICS plan, to address some changes to improve the national criminal background check on buying guns. You have actually opposed these changes over the last couple of months. Why?
KENNEDY: I support the spirit of Senator Cornyn’s bill.
BERMAN: But the spirit isn’t the legislation —
KENNEDY: I just don’t think it is going to do anything. I mean, this is what it says. It says, look, we know for a fact that many federal agencies and many states are not sending information into the NICS database. There are holes in the program you can drive a Mac truck through. So in order to encourage compliance, we’re going to tell the federal employees if you don’t start doing your job, we’re going to take away your bonuses. Well, why are they getting bonuses to begin with? To the states, it says pretty please, if you’ll do your job, we might give you more money. We’ll give you a leg up on getting grants. That’s not going to accomplish anything. Can I just make one other point? If the president wanted to do something here, and I think he does, I would encourage him to send out, to call all the cabinet secretaries in and say, look, I need the names of the people in your agencies who are responsible for sending information into the database. I want their names, and their phone numbers. And if they don’t do their job, then fire them. They already have an incentive to do their job. It is called a job. And if the governors, I mean, I’ve listened to a lot of our governors, who I love dearly, talk about the need to do something. Look, I understand that. They could start with making sure their states are cooperating with the database.
BERMAN: Okay. so, Senator, you say you support the spirit of the measure being proposed by Senator Cornyn. You sound like you want states to comply here.
BERMAN: In order to get to that spirit, in order to achieve that spirit, in order to achieve anything, is there any gun measure, any legislation you can conceive of supporting?
KENNEDY: I don’t think we need more gun control laws.
BERMAN: Not a single one?
KENNEDY: No. I think we need more idiot control. Look what happened here. There were, what, 40 different calls placed on —
BERMAN: I’m sorry, you use that word — you used the word idiot, I heard you use that before, who are you referring to specifically?
KENNEDY: I’m talking to the people who do this. Some of whom are mentally ill, and to them I would say, okay, misuse of the word idiot, but I’m talking about other people, we just automatically assume some of these folks are mentally ill. I happen to believe there is evil in the world. but i’m not going to —
BERMAN: So Senator, when we talk about guns, hang on, one point here, I’m not going to use the word you use there, but if you’re talking about mentally ill, the issue is how do you keep guns out of their hands? How do you keep them from getting guns if they should not have them? What is the tool that you suggest using to do that?
KENNEDY: We have the tools in place. They’re not being implemented. Let me say it again, the NICS database has holes big enough to drive a Mac truck through. In the instance in Florida, with the man who killed all these people, there is an assumption he’s mentally ill, I don’t know that, so I will call him an idiot. I don’t know that.
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