Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Sunday called on his fellow Republicans to be “scared to death” to speak out on gun control after a deadly mass shooting at a Texas elementary school earlier this week.
Calls for gun control have been renewed after 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas last Tuesday, killing 19 students and two teachers.
Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, criticized his own party’s response to the mass shooting in an interview on CNN. He slammed Republicans who have instead tried to blame mental health for the country’s mass shootings and have suggested efforts to “harden” schools to prevent shooters from gaining entry.
“What you see right now is all these politicians who are scared to death to talk about the gun issue. They know this is a problem, but they’re afraid to talk about it, so they start with this mental health thing,” he said.
The congressman explained that while he agrees that mental health is a problem, he “very doubts” that the politicians who are using it to evade gun control have funded mental health care.
Kinzinger also knocked on suggestions to introduce other safety measures in schools. Some Republicans have suggested instead of tightening gun laws, reducing the number of doors or hiring more security guards to prevent further shootings.
“If we think that just hardening schools — basically turning schools into military camps — will be the answer. Even if it works, which it won’t. But even if it works, it’s not the kind of country I want to live in,” he said. “I have a child who is four months old now and will go to school one day. I don’t want a military ID to check it in at the front gate of his elementary school.”
The Republican lawmaker also said that while he had previously opposed bans on AR-15 rifles, a weapon commonly used by mass shooters, he was now open to a ban.
“It’s going to depend on how it looks because there’s a lot of nuance about what makes certain things,” he said. “But I’m getting to the point where I have to wonder, maybe someone who owns one, maybe you need an additional license. Maybe you need extra training.”
In the wake of the shooting, a handful of Republicans have also indicated they are more open to gun control efforts.
Rep. Chris Jacobs, a New York Republican, recently said he would support a spate of gun control measures in the wake of the mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, New York. In Buffalo, a teen gunman motivated by racism opened fire at a grocery store in Tops Friendly Market, killing 10 black people.
“Being a father and having young kids and imagining what those parents are going through and I think being able to feel it more personally has certainly had an impact as well,” he said, who received endorsement from the National Rifle Association (NRA ) in 2020.
Actor Jon Voight, a Republican and vocal Trump supporter, also said in a video statement Saturday that there should be “appropriate qualifications” for gun ownership.
news week reached out to Kinzinger’s office for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/adam-kinzinger-says-fellow-republicans-scared-talk-about-gun-issue-1711202 Adam Kinzinger says other Republicans are “scared” to talk about gun issues