Senator Bernie Sanders. (photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
02 September 15
en. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is calling for "sensible gun-control legislation" in the wake of a mass shooting Thursday at a community college in Oregon.
"We need a comprehensive approach. We need sensible gun-control legislation which prevents guns from being used by people who should not have them," Sanders said in a statement. "We must greatly expand and improve our mental health capabilities so individuals and families can get the psychological help then need when they need it."
Sanders released his remarks after a gunman opened fire at Umpqua Community College on Thursday morning, killing 10 people.
The Vermont senator, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, added that the United State must also "tone down the incredibly high level of gratuitous violence" in the media.
"The shouting at each other must end. The hard work of developing good policy must begin," he said.
Sanders's comments echo remarks from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is also running for the Democratic nomination. Speaking after a campaign stop in Massachusetts, she called for "sensible gun control measures to save lives."
Any gun control legislation would face an uphill, if not impossible, battle in the Republican-controlled Congress.
A proposal to expand background checks from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) failed to get the 60 votes needed in 2013 to overcome a procedural hurdle. A handful of the 54 yes votes were from Democratic senators who have since been replaced by Republicans.
Asked about taking up new gun control legislation earlier this year, Republican senators suggested instead that lawmakers should take time to reflect in the wake of a shooting, strengthen mental health services or crack down on cities that don't comply with federal immigration laws.
But Sanders suggested that Americans are "horrified by these never-ending mass shootings" and that Congress must try to "end this awful epidemic of senseless slaughter."