Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware warned in a CNN interview Thursday that new U.S. House speaker Mike Johnson would most likely obstruct gun safety reform, even in the wake of the mass shooting this week in Maine.
“That’s maddening to those of us here who think there is more for us to do,” Coons said during a morning segment on Thursday. “And frankly after several weeks of chaos, the house has settled on a new speaker, who I look forward to getting to know.”
He added: “But who by press accounts and what I’ve found online on his record is far more conservative than any speaker. That makes me more concerned that we’ll struggle to make gun progress on improving gun safety for our families, for our children.
Harlow asked him if he believed there was a path forward on factoring in mental health history when it comes to gun sales, noting that the Maine shooter had spent two weeks in mental health facility during the summer.
“Do you think there’s any appetite, just at large, for more mental health aid, if you don’t connect it to guns?” Harlow asked.
“Well, it’s important, Poppy, for us to distinguish between these two fields,” Coons said. “There are millions and millions of Americans with mental health needs that are under funded where they have difficulty accessing services that have no connection whatsoever to gun violence. But this this particular instance that clearly, seems to from press accounts seem to be the factor.”
Coons acknowledged the division on gun rights, but also the inadequacy of incremental measures.
“It was one of president Biden’s big accomplishments along with a bipartisan group here in the senate last year that we move forward on closing background check loopholes and improving gun safety but there is so much more to do,” Coons said. “No other advanced industrialized country has this challenge where day after day after day there are mass shootings all over our country.”