BOSTON (CBS) — Politicians from both parties are calling for action to prevent future school shootings like the one in Florida Wednesday.
But will their talk translate into action?
At a press conference Thursday, Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott said flatly: “If somebody is mentally ill they should not have access to a gun.” And that was a break with his party’s leadership on the issue of access to guns by the mentally ill.
In his brief address to the nation, President Trump said, “we are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
But it was Mr. Trump who last year signed a measure rescinding an Obama-era requirement that the names of people so severely mentally ill that they can’t handle their own Social Security checks be shared with the gun background-check database.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was on the Senate floor Thursday wondering “is there something we could have done, or should do to ensure that we don’t see these things happening?” But it was Rubio who voted to drop that Social Security rule, as did almost every Republican in the Senate and House.
And last year, House Speaker Paul Ryan was touting “mental health reform” as “a critical ingredient to making sure that we can try to prevent some of these things from happening.” But when a reporter asked, “was it a mistake to make it easier for mentally ill people to get a gun?” Ryan quickly moved on to another question.
They held a moment of silence on the Senate floor, but while thoughts and prayers are nice, they can’t erase past actions – or inaction.
Today, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) was bemoaning the fact that “we have not done a very good job of making sure that people that have mental reasons for not being able to handle a gun” don’t get access to them.
Perhaps Grassley forgot – he was one of 57 senators to approve ending that Social Security info sharing.