Bush re­jects calls for more gun laws

The 2016 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date says none of Obama’s pro­pos­als would’ve stopped re­cent mas­sacres.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Kur­tis Lee kur­tis.lee@latimes.com @kur­tisalee

HEN­DER­SON, Nev. — For­mer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pushed back Satur­day against calls from Pres­i­dent Obama and other Democrats for stricter gun con­trol laws in the wake of the mass shoot­ing at a Charleston, S.C., church that left nine peo­ple dead.

Bush, who trav­eled to this Las Ve­gas sub­urb for a town hall event, said he does not be­lieve tougher gun laws would pre­vent mass shoot­ings.

“All of these tragic in­stances that have taken place in the last cou­ple of years are heart­break­ing. They re­ally are,” Bush said in re­sponse to an at­tendee’s ques­tion about his views on the 2nd Amend­ment. “Not a sin­gle one of them would have been stopped with any of the ideas pro­posed by Barack Obama. Not a sin­gle one of them.”

Bush, one of the fron­trun­ners in the race for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, said more em­pha­sis should be placed on im­prov­ing ac­cess to men­tal health ser­vices.

His com­ments come ahead of a Mon­day visit to Charleston, where Bush plans to meet with black min­is­ters.

Obama spoke again of gun con­trol on Fri­day, in a eu­logy for the Rev. Cle­menta Pinck­ney, a pas­tor and state sen­a­tor who was among the vic­tims of the shoot­ing at Emanuel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church.

“For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique may­hem that gun vi­o­lence in­flicts upon this na­tion,” the pres­i­dent said. “The vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans, the ma­jor­ity of gun own­ers, want to do some­thing about this. We see that now.”

Af­ter the De­cem­ber 2012 shoot­ing that killed 20 chil­dren and six adults at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in New­town, Conn., Obama called for Congress to man­date uni­ver­sal back­ground checks for gun buy­ers. That mea­sure fal­tered, though sev­eral states passed stricter laws, in­clud­ing Con­necti­cut and Colorado, where a gun­man had killed 12 at a movie theater in July 2012.

Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton, the front-run­ner for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, in re­cent days has called for uni­ver­sal back­ground checks, say­ing the “pol­i­tics on the is­sue have been poi­soned.”

Sev­eral na­tional sur­veys have shown wide sup­port for uni­ver­sal back­ground checks.

Bush has re­ceived strong sup­port from the Na­tional Ri­fle Assn. As Florida gover­nor, he signed the con­tro­ver­sial “stand your ground” law that re­ceived at­ten­tion in the wake of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, an un­armed black teenager, by neigh­bor­hood watch vol­un­teer Ge­orge Zim­mer­man.

On Satur­day, Bush said gun laws should be a state is­sue.

“In Florida, we had back­ground checks. State by state, I think, these things get sorted out based on tra­di­tion, based on the dif­fer­ences in our states,” he told re­porters af­ter the town hall meet­ing.

Bush said he sup­ported a Florida law that re­quires back­ground checks on some gun sales.

In Florida, he said, “we’ve cre­ated a bal­ance that’s fo­cused on low­er­ing gun vi­o­lence, but pro­tect­ing the 2nd Amend­ment.”

Ethan Miller Getty Im­ages

JEB BUSH greets at­ten­dees af­ter a town hall meet­ing in Hen­der­son, Nev. He will travel to Charleston, S.C., on Mon­day to meet with black min­is­ters.

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