Republican Jim Gilmore, a former governor of Virginia and a candidate for president, told Newsmax TV
Thursday "it's absolutely wrong" for Democrats to politicize Wednesday's shooting death of two journalists.
During an interview on "The Steve Malzberg Show," Gilmore said the left's attack of gun rights before Wednesday's shooter was even captured went too far.
Story continues below video.
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"It's absolutely wrong for the left to automatically, immediately use these kinds of tragedies, this terrible tragedy that we've seen here, in order to further their left-wing political agenda," Gilmore said. "The people of the United States have their rights under the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court's made it clear, the language is very clear, and I for one am willing to stand up for people's gun rights here in the United States under the Second Amendment.
"But as soon as this tragedy occurred, the people had been killed, the fella hadn't even been caught yet and you already saw the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, who's very close to the Clintons, come out and call for more gun control. Then you saw the president's man go before the people in a press conference and call for more gun control. And then there's the clip that you just showed with Hillary Clinton. One thing is perfectly clear, and that is if Hillary Clinton becomes president of the United States, our gun rights under the Second Amendment, our rights under the Second Amendment are in jeopardy."
claimed the lives of a reporter and her cameraman in Bedford County, Va. The shooter, a disgruntled former employee of the news station, also wounded the person being interviewed at the time.
Democrats, including Clinton
and President Barack Obama
, spoke about the shooting on Wednesday and called for stricter gun control laws.
Gilmore said the real issue is figuring out how to identify mentally ill individuals before they commit acts of violence. Reports say
Wednesday's shooter may have been mentally ill.
"We have to do something to identify people before they actually attack others. Family members, friends, acquaintances, people who think that people are unbalanced and unstable, they really ought to be reporting it, they ought to be trying to get people some help before they turn around and hurt other people," Gilmore said. "This is an issue of mental illness."
Gilmore said he took steps to take on the issue of mental illness during his time as Virginia's governor (1998-2002).
"When I was the governor of Virginia, I endeavored to move mental health treatment and care more into the community so that there would be more access to it and that's the answer to the problem. It makes no sense to blame the gun," Gilmore said.
"We really have to address mental illness and stop diverting attention away from the real issue by talking about trying to eliminate people's Second Amendment rights."
Gilmore also discussed the issue of birthright citizenship during the interview, saying he supports the Constitution.
"If you read history, it's a very dangerous thing to give government the ability to begin to say who's a citizen, who's not a citizen, who's entitled to the right under the 14th Amendment and who's not," Gilmore said. "That's not a good thing and as a conservative, I object."
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