By ALEXANDER WILLIS
In the wake of two shootings over the weekend that left a combined 32 people dead and at least 51 injured, Senator Marsha Blackburn advocated for the issue of mental health treatment options in the United to be expanded upon.
“The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton were horrific tragedies perpetrated by evil individuals, and I condemn all forms of hate and hateful acts of any kind,” Blackburn said in a statement. “The issue of mental health will also require further examination. We should look into how to expand providing proper treatment and facilities for the severely mentally ill.”
The two shootings, which took place within 13 hours of each other, occurred in El Paso, Texas, and in Dayton, Ohio.
Furthermore, Blackburn said she would like to see law enforcement across the country become better equipped to deal with and prevent future mass shootings, while still advocating for citizen’s Second Amendment rights.
“We will work with the President to continue addressing this issue in a comprehensive manner by giving law enforcement the tools they need to reduce gun violence, while also respecting the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, Blackburn said. “Last year, Congress passed the Fix NICS Act, which banned the use of bump stocks and strengthened reporting requirements for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the Department of Justice. There is much more work to be done.”
The El Paso shooting took place Saturday morning in a Walmart, and took the lives of 22 people, leaving another 24 people injured. The shooter’s motive is believed by authorities to be racially-charged, with a manifesto appearing online shortly before the incident expressing hatred for Hispanic people.
The Dayton shooting took place early Sunday morning in the Oregon Historic District, a neighborhood of Dayton. After investigators searched the shooter’s home, no racial or political motive was immediately determined.
Senator Lamar Alexander shared in Blackburn’s calls for expansions for mental health treatment options, while also advocating for stronger background checks to keep weapons out of the wrong hands.
“Today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell asked that the health and education committee I chair take an immediate look to find additional bipartisan ways to fund states’ efforts to increase school safety and to help Americans with serious mental health problems,” wrote Alexander in a statement. “But, especially in a nation with a constitutional right to bear arms, new laws from Washington, D.C., alone won’t stop this violence – it will take a change in behavior.”
Congressman Mark Green also condemned the attacks, writing in a statement that the motives behind the El Paso shooting were “evil.”
“I’ve always thought of God as a painter,” Green wrote in a statement. “He uses every color to paint an amazing creation, beautiful because of all the colors. Each color is critically and equally important. It has been said that the shooter in El Paso targeted people specifically because they were of a specific race or the color of their skin. That is evil. That is against God and God’s creation. Our hearts and prayers go out to all the families of the victims. We must resolve ourselves to fight this kind of hate everywhere we find it.”