Senator Joni Ernst.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says the school shooting in Florida is a tragedy, and especially since the FBI reportedly had received information on alleged threats by the shooter and that was not shared with local officials.

“Well it is concerning because the signs were there, the signs were there and they were not acted upon,” Ernst says. The shooting has again prompted some to call for stricter gun control, but Ernst a Republican from Red Oak, says the gun laws are not the issue as she says we do have “meaningful gun control laws in place already.”

“I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, and the Second Amendment ensures that law-abiding citizens have the ability to defend themselves. If you go back and look — there were signs out there that this young man was disturbed,” Ernst says. “And again, my push has always been focusing mental illness. That is the root cause of the issue.”

Ernst says when she meets with law enforcement officers she doesn’t hear them calling for more gun laws.

“What they say is there (are) rampant issues surrounding mental illness, that’s where the focus should be. That’s what my law enforcement officials are telling me,” according to Ernst. Ernst says the focus needs to be on substance abuse and mental illness and the federal government needs community partners.

“This should be handled at the local, state and the federal level to be sure that communities have what they need to combat substance abuse and mental illness,” according to Ernst. Ernst made her comments during her weekly conference call with reporters.