A Republican senator is arguing that the country needs more "idiot control" rather than more gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that has reignited a national debate about gun violence.
"I don't think we need more gun control laws," the Louisiana Republican told CNN's John Berman Tuesday.
"Not a single one?" Berman asked.
"No. I think we need more idiot control," he said, referring to people who perpetrate mass shootings.
"I'm talking to the people who do this, some of whom are mentally ill. And to them I would say, OK, misuse of the word idiot. But I'm talking about other people. We just automatically assume some of these folks are mentally ill. I happen to believe there is evil in the world," Kennedy said.
He later further explained, "There is an assumption (Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz) is mentally ill. I don't know that, so I will call him an idiot."
Kennedy has previously called for more "idiot control" as the Senate weighs whether to move forward with debating gun legislation. Prospects for congressional action have dimmed in recent days.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, have proposed legislation, known as the Fix NICS bill, aimed at improving federal and states' reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. But the bill was blocked Monday night from consideration and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said it doesn't go far enough.
Kennedy said that although he supports the "spirit" of the bill, "I just don't think it is going to do anything."
"We have the tools in place. They're not being implemented ... The NICS database has holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through," he said.
- Sen. Kennedy: 'Idiot control,' not gun control, needed after Parkland
- Parkland students, ignore the idiots
- Florida lawmaker snubs teens on gun control
- Vermont lawmakers approve gun control measures
- Vermont governor signs sweeping gun control measures
- 'American Idiot' climbs British charts
- Here's what US lawmakers have done about gun control since the Parkland shooting
- Will more young people support gun control after Parkland? Recent history suggests no.
- Parkland congressman: 'It's not too soon, it's too late' to talk about gun control
- Search interest in gun control after Parkland had more staying power than usual