Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he thinks the federal government can’t do much to help stop school shootings.
“I don’t think at the federal level there’s much that we can do other than appropriate funds,” McConnell said while speaking to community leaders in Danville, Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
McConnell said he feels heightened security in schools may help prevent shootings but argued that’s not the responsibility of the U.S. Congress.
“You would think, given how much it takes to get on an American plane or given how much it takes to get into courthouses, that this might be something that we could achieve, but I don’t think we could do that from Washington, I think it’s basically a local decision,” he said.
“It’s a darn shame that’s where we are, but this epidemic is something that’s got all of our attention,” he added.
McConnell, who has received money from the National Rifle Association, has repeatedly expressed his sadness over school shootings, regularly offering thoughts and prayers while working against gun control legislation in the Senate.
The debate over gun control was renewed this week after five people were shot and killed in a Maryland newsroom.
After a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 dead in February, President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers, toughening background checks, opening more mental hospitals and increasing the age limit to 21 for purchasing some weapons, but he did not offer support for legislation to help prevent gun violence. After speaking on the Senate floor about the “brutal, pointless violence” of the Parkland shooting, McConnell largely remained silent on the issue.