Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday addressed a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people — by proposing policy solutions to prevent shootings that don’t actually make any sense.
During a speech to a sheriffs’ convention in Washington on Thursday morning, Sessions said he thinks the next school shooting can be prevented by stronger enforcement of existing gun laws.
“I think effective enforcement of our gun laws, focusing on criminals and dangerous people, mentally ill people that have been — where we have the legal ability to do so — can reduce violence in our communities and improve public safety,” Sessions said. “It is not good if we got gun laws that say criminals can’t carry guns and they never get enforced. So we intend to enforce our laws.”
But there are a couple obvious problems with Sessions’ idea. Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old allegedly responsible for using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to murder 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, bought his military-caliber weapon legally. Cruz also had no criminal record. So it’s hard to see how stronger enforcement of existing gun laws could have prevented the carnage.
At another point during his speech, Sessions suggested that cracking down on gangs could prevent school shootings.
“When parents once again go to sleep fearful that their kids will not be safe, even when they go to school — parents have told me in gang-infested neighborhoods that children can no longer stand at the bus stop by themselves, they take turns, parents do, of being out there every morning and afternoon,” Sessions said. “So we’ve gotta confront the problem. There’s not doubt about it.”
Parkland, however, is one of the safest cities in Florida, and Cruz had no known involvement with gangs.
During the portion of his speech addressing school shootings, Sessions didn’t once mention the possibility of enacting stronger gun laws that might prevent people like Cruz from legally obtaining a military-style rifle in the first place.