The Journal Gazette
First-year U.S. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said Monday that he favors requiring stronger background checks for gun buyers in the wake of mass shootings over the weekend in Ohio and Texas.
“Mass shootings and gun violence across our country is a complex situation, watching Congress do nothing is unacceptable and I agree with President Trump’s call for bipartisan legislation to address this crisis,” Republican Braun said in a statement.
“Any bipartisan legislation needs to include: stronger background checks; red flag laws known as extreme risk protection orders that address mental illness; commonsense solutions that complement the Trump Administration’s ban on bump stock(s) so we can crack down on modifications that turn guns into military style assault weapons; and steps that are responsive to a culture that glorifies violence.
“We live in the greatest country in the world, but the tone and destructive rhetoric across the ideological spectrum is tearing our country apart and we need to get back to a society that works towards finding common ground on issues where we disagree,” Braun said.
The Journal Gazette asked Braun’s staff whether he supports two House-passed bills that would expand background checks.
“Previously introduced proposals have failed to become law because they do not have sufficient bipartisan support; but I think we can all find common ground,” Braun said in a later statement. “President Trump’s remarks offer a fresh opportunity for a bipartisan, comprehensive solution and I believe that includes strengthening our background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill in a way that gets the support of the White House and Congress, while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Trump tweeted Monday that Republican and Democratic lawmakers “must come together and get strong background checks.”
None of the other three federal lawmakers who represent northeast Indiana indicated support for tougher background checks in statements and tweets Monday.
Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said he backs red flag laws, which allow for law enforcement officials to remove firearms from people considered dangerous to themselves or others. Seventeen states, including Indiana, and the District of Columbia have such laws, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
“Clearly we have multiple problems in this country – problems of hate, social alienation, and the devaluing of human life – and we’re going to have to work together as a nation to address these challenges. I think Indiana has done a good job with respect to our red flag law and that’s something that needs to be part of the conversation moving forward across the country,” Young said.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, expressed his support for Trump’s remarks Monday about the shootings in Dayton and El Paso, Texas.
“Condemning racism, bigotry, and white supremacy, identifying mass shooters before they strike, combating internet radicalization, demanding tougher mental health laws. Thank you @POTUS for demonstrating the kind of leadership our nation needs,” Banks wrote on Twitter.
He later tweeted: “When you’re sick, a doctor must correctly diagnose your illness before treatment can begin. We must do the same in diagnosing radicalization and extremist ideology as main causes of terrorism, like we saw in #ElPaso and #Dayton this weekend.”
Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd, tweeted Monday, “I am committed to working with my colleagues to confront the threat of domestic terrorism, address gaps in mental health care, ensure our laws are fully enforced, and protect the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Walorski and Banks voted against the background check measures approved this year by the Democratic-controlled House, as did most other Republicans in the chamber.