Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., told Newsmax Wednesday that more restrictive gun laws will not solve the problem of gun crime when mental health issues are often to blame.
"First of all, our thoughts and prayers go to the victims at Covenant church and school and their families," Ricketts said during an appearance on Newsmax's "The Chris Salcedo Show." "This is a terrible tragedy. I can't imagine how horrible this might be."
"As horrible as this is, we know from the past that trying to put gun laws and restrictions in place is not the answer," he continued. "The people who perpetrate these, and we have to do the investigation here, typically have mental health issues, and this is something that typically people know what's going on, or at least they see some of the warning signs. So, part of what we have to do is really educate people about when they see the warning signs that somebody might be doing an act like this, that we get to those people, provide them the mental health care."
Ricketts said that very restrictive gun laws don't do anything to reduce crime in the places where they're enacted.
"In fact, you look at Chicago or even Washington, D.C., they have strict gun laws [and] in Washington, D.C. we've had 200 homicides for both the last two years," he said. "So, restrictive gun laws don't answer the question. The real issue is the people who are doing this, they have mental health issues. We have to get them before they reach the stage where they're going to commit something like this, and that's the real solution."
Reacting to the news that Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs' press secretary resigned this week after posting a tweet that seemed to condone using violence against "transphobes," Ricketts said that he would have "zero tolerance" for such actions. The tweet was published on the same day as the attack on the Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.
"One of the things we have to do is we have to get back to our founding values — the things that made this nation great – and one of them is protecting our liberties and being civil to each other in doing so and having debate and dialogue," he said. "Not threatening violence. We've got to remember that our founding values do not permit this at all. It's about who we are, as Americans. That means getting back to those principles that made this nation great."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.