While, as Patrick Brennan writes, the president remains strategically mum on whether or not the federal government should respond to the Aurora shootings, others are calling for action. Senator Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) told me this afternoon that while the gun control lobby should know that pushing for new restrictions in the wake of killings can appear exploitive, that doesn’t mean the attack doesn’t justify conversations about policy change.
“It’s capitalizing on a tragedy,” he said of the anti-gun lobby’s response, “but I’m not sure that when something like this happens, it’s wrong to bring attention to an issue. I don’t criticize those who have raised the issue of gun control, but again, what has been kind of surprising to me are the number of people, even more on the left, who say, ‘That’s a dead end, what can we do something about?’ And we can sure do something about mental illness in this country.”
As our publisher pointed out, developing a new federal approach to mental illness comes with its own difficulties. But given last weekend’s carnage, it’s a conversation worth having.