NEW HARTFORD — With another mass shooting over the weekend, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says fellow Republican leaders in Congress are committed to fast-tracking some sort of gun safety legislation.
Grassley blames the media for focusing on rampages like the one Saturday where a gunman killed seven people and wounded 25 in Odessa, Texas. “Seven people died in Chicago over the weekend from gunshot wounds, but you never hear anything about that,” Grassley says. “It’s kind of sad commentary that we concentrate just on one person killing some people and nine people dying someplace else doesn’t get any attention.”
Grassley says Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear the process of conducting background checks for firearms purchases needs to be revisited and strengthened. “It’s my understanding, based on what I heard two weeks ago,” Grassley says, “McConnell is committed to bringing up things dealing with background checks particularly.”
Grassley has spoken in favor of so-called “red flag” laws that would take guns away from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Grassley says mandatory background checks for all gun purchases may be coming in the near future. “Since we’ve worked out things like that a few years ago, it ought to be easy to work out some legislation that will make background checks more possible, particularly with people who have mental illness issues.”
The Odessa gunman was reportedly fired from his job the morning of the shootings and, based on his arrest in 2001, could not have legally bought firearms in Texas. Congress remains on recess this week and will return to work on Monday.