Politics
2:19 pm
Sat December 15, 2012

Blunt: Preventing Mass Shootings Should Start With Mental Health, Not Stricter Gun Laws

Credit (UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Members of Congress from across the country are responding to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Mo.  Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt called the shooting a huge tragedy and said that it put other parts of life in perspective.

But Blunt said stricter gun laws are unlikely to deter similar acts of violence.

“I don’t think the weapon is likely to be the problem here, nearly as much as, how do you identify people with these problems in a society and try to intervene before they do something that tragically impacts their lives and the lives of others?” said Blunt, who was in St. Louis to tour the St. Louis Area Food Bank on Saturday morning.   

Blunt added that government can’t fix everything, and that the appropriate response when these type of tragedies occur is to examine what can be done to improve mental health services.

The “Fiscal Cliff”

Negotiations continue between President Barack Obama and U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner over the so-called fiscal cliff.  

Blunt said it shouldn’t be so hard to strike a reasonable deal.

“You know, I don’t think this issue should be that hard to figure out,” Blunt said.  “But it certainly seems like the two people who have to negotiate it are going right down to the end of the year.   Maybe for both sides to be satisfied that this was a hard  fight it has to come down to the end of the year.”

Blunt said  that he’s talked with both President Obama and his staff recently and that his advice was not to seek a deal that Speaker Boehner would agree to, but would be opposed by a majority of Republicans in the House.    

He also said that he thought the sharp political divides in Congress in some respects make it easier to tackle big issues.

“Divided government is a good time to solve big problems,” Blunt said.  “Because when you’ve got divided government this doesn’t become a political issue because everybody, both parties, have to have their finger prints on it.”

Follow Tim Llloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd