05/25/2014 05:23 pm ET Updated May 25, 2014

Peter King Calls For Enhanced Gun Control Legislation In Wake Of California Rampage

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Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) joined the charge of politicians calling for a review of gun control legislation on Sunday in the wake of a gunman's deadly rampage on the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara.

King, a longtime advocate of stricter gun control policies, told the Washington Post that the incident reinforces the argument for expanding background checks for gun owners.

“This tragedy demonstrates once again the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill,” he said.

King added that any effort to convince House leadership to bring gun control legislation up this summer will be "very difficult," saying gun control advocates in Congress need to "focus the discussion" surrounding mental illness and access to firearms.

The Republican said his party should not give up efforts to thwart powerful gun advocacy groups, according to the Washington Post.

“Even though this issue may not be popular in particular congressional districts, if we want to be a national party, we ought to be looking closely at it,” he said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also called on Congress to revisit gun control legislation on Sunday, suggesting a focus on mental health could bring Republicans and Democrats together on the issue.

"Maybe reconfigure them to center on mental health, which is a point where we can agree that we need more resources to make the country healthier," he said. "The Congress will be complicit if we fail to act."



Santa Barbara Shooting