Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain said stricter gun-control laws are not the answer to preventing such massacres as the one in Aurora, Colo., on Friday, in which 12 people lost their lives because of a suspect with an arsenal of weapons.
“I don’t know, to tell you the truth, what we can do,” McCain said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But to think that, somehow…increase gun control is the answer, in my view, that would have to be proved.”
His comments were mirrored by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper who said no law could have prevented suspect James Holmes from carrying out the act of terror that rocked an Aurora movie theater — and America — early Friday morning, leaving 12 dead.
“This person, if there were no assault weapons available, if there were no this or no that, this guy’s going to find something. Right? He’s going to know how to create a bomb. Who knows where his mind would have gone. Clearly a very intelligent individual however twisted. That’s the problem, this is a human issue in some profound way,” Hickenlooper said during an interview also on CNN's "State of the Union."
“The people around him had no idea that this was something he was capable of,” said Hickenlooper.
McCain, the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, described the incident as a “terrible tragedy” but said owning guns is a constitutional right.
“We had a ban on assault weapons that expired some years ago,” he said. “It didn’t change the situation at all, in my view. To somehow leap to the conclusion that this was somehow caused by the fact that we don’t have more gun-control legislation, I don’t think it’s been proved.”
Hickenlooper suggested there is really no way to prevent incidents like this, he told host Candy Crowley.
“How do we preserve our freedoms…and all those things that define this country, and yet try to prevent something like this [from] happening? Let me tell you, there’s no easy answer. There isn’t.”
The governor described the suspect as a “deeply troubled, twisted, delusional person.”
“I am speechless,” he said. “I can’t conceive of a motive. In a funny way, this guy is a terrorist, right? For whatever twisted reasons that we can barely even imagine, he wanted to create terror. He wanted to put fear in people’s lives.”
Hickenlooper said Aurora will have a vigil Sunday following a visit by President Barack Obama. He said he spent Saturday visiting victims in the hospital and reaching out to the families of those who died.
Despite the horrific tragedy, spirits remain high, he said.
“It was amazing how buoyant the spirits were in many of these (hospital) rooms,” he said. “There’s a resiliency…it was an American quality. Trust me, we will rise above this. I guarantee it.”
Also,during the same show, McCain discussed Syria.
McCain said the United States’ failure to act is “shameful” and is leading to the possibility that President Bashar al-Assad will use the country’s stockpile of chemical weapons.
“There are helicopter gunships, tanks, artillery that are slaughtering people,” he said. “Where is the United States of America? The president has not yet, in my memory in recent times, spoken up for the people who are being slaughtered in the streets….”
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