Republican Senator Joni Ernst says any federal response to recent mass shootings has to respect the right to keep and bear arms.
“I am an adamant supporter of our Second Amendment, and any time that right is taken away from an individual, we need to make sure that it’s done through due process, not just someone saying: ‘I don’t think this individual should have a gun.'”
Ernst is opposed to a federal “red flag” law.
“A lot of folks get the term ‘red flag’ laws confused with actually removing a person’s rights through due process,” Ernst says. “Red flag is when someone just calls in and says: ‘This person shouldn’t have a gun.’ That’s unacceptable to me. It does have to be someone who understands mental health, a mental health provider, as well as a judge that would take those rights away from an individual.”
Ernst is not among the bipartisan group of senators discussing legislation in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas. Ernst says the group needs to look at what specifically happened in those cases.
“The background of the shooter, you know, just the overall siguation and response by law enforcement,” Ernst says, “and then take a good, hard look at ways we can make changes, perhaps, to the rules or regulations that don’t infringe on law abiding Second Amendment supporters.”
Ernst made her comments Tuesday afternoon after visiting the Veterans Administration outpatient clinic that opened last fall in Mason City. President Biden on Tuesday said he’ll meet with members of congress to discuss gun-related legislation. but will not propose a bill as bipartisan negotiations continue. Biden said there’s not much he can do through executive action, as he cannot outlaw a weapon or change background check requirements for gun purchases.
(By Bob Fisher, KGLO, Mason City; Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson also contributed to this story.)