WASHINGTON, DC (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson isn't saying whether he supports President Donald Trump's call to strengthen gun laws in the wake of two mass shootings.
But Johnson does appear to be signaling potential support for a "red flag" law that allows family members to petition authorities to restrict a mentally ill person's access to firearms.
Johnson in a statement Monday called for re-evaluating "how our society treats mental illness to keep firearms out of the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves and their communities." (Read the complete statement below.)
Trump has also signaled openness to such laws and other Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, support it.
Johnson says there are no quick fixes, but "there are effective, bipartisan actions that can be taken."
Wisconsin's junior senator, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, tweeted about the shootings Saturday and Sunday, referring to the shooters' weapons as "weapons of war." She called the lack of action in Congress "a moral failure."
Statement from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)
“I appreciate the president’s comments this morning condemning the violent extremism that led to this weekend’s horrific domestic terror mass shootings. We must remain committed to tenaciously rooting these cancers out of our society.
“For years, we have experienced a coarsening of our culture, and have been witnessing what Senator Patrick Moynihan accurately termed ‘defining deviancy down.’ Although there are no quick fixes guaranteed to prevent future tragedies, I believe there are effective, bipartisan actions that can be taken. For example, multiple commissions formed in the aftermath of school shootings have issued widely agreed upon recommendations that can be applied both in schools and in other public spaces to prevent and mitigate mass violence. We also need to seriously re-evaluate how our society treats mental illness to keep firearms out of the hands of people who pose a danger to themselves and their communities. But the long-term solution lies in renewed faith, strengthened families, and less virtual socialization and more genuine human to human interaction in real communities.”
Heartbroken again. Sadly, this is normal in America. That's the problem. We must do something but the truth is there are too many in Washington who simply refuse to do anything to take action & work to reduce gun violence. Not me. How about you? #ElPaso #massshooting— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) August 3, 2019
Three mass shootings in one week where weapons of war were used to take innocent lives. Now Dayton. The failure of Washington to act is a moral failure when a majority of Americans are demanding action and want to confront gun violence like the public health crisis it is.— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) August 4, 2019
Five months ago, the House passed bipartisan legislation to expand federal background checks to all gun sales. The American people overwhelmingly support this.@Senatemajldr must bring this gun safety reform to the Senate floor for a vote so we can start saving lives.— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) August 5, 2019