Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) attributed Adam Lanza’s deadly killing spree in Newton, Connecticut to “violent games, music” and a “broken family” during an appearance on MSNBC Thursday.
Ignoring, the shooter’s use of an assault weapon to rapidly kill 20 children and six staff members, Black accused the media of ignoring the cultural causes of gun violence and argued that lawmakers should shift their focus from regulating guns to expanding access to mental health. “We have heard a little bit about mental health,” she complained. “[T]here’s not any laws that are being proposed on that.” Black argued that addressing violent culture was the “biggest” message from Newtown:
BLACK: I want to make sure that we’re looking at this issue intelligently and from all — why Adam Lanza did what he did. Unprecedented levels of violent games, music, so on. None of these things that we’re talking about right now that are the biggest in the message is really going to help what happened in Newtown. So I’m disappointed that we’re doing a knee jerk reaction, only talking about it from one end, I think we have to talk about mental illness, about the breakdown of the family, about violence, about holding people who use guns and violent actions accountable, such as in the federal law where there’s a penalty for just possessing a gun.
While there is no evidence that violent media cause gun violence, lawmakers have sought to prevent mentally ill people from obtaining firearms and expand access to mental health. For instance, just yesterday, Democrats in the House introduced H.R. 848, the Armed Prohibited Persons Ac, to “help states launch initiatives to remove guns from the hands of convicted criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.” President Obama issued a presidential memorandum ensuring that federal agencies are reporting data about mentally ill individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) of people who should not have access to guns. He also pledged to enforce “mental health parity” — the idea that mental health should be treated as a priority as important as physical health — in the Medicaid program.
Asked if she would support any efforts to limit the availability of dangerous fire arms, Black said, “I will not erode our Second Amendment rights.”