Republicans called for prayers

The Times is live-updating the latest Random Explosion of Carnage:

• Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said he would meet with state lawmakers to secure more funding for school safety and the treatment of mental illness. “If we have somebody that’s mentally ill, they can’t have access to a gun,” Mr. Scott said.

• The authorities said the AR-15 rifle that Mr. Cruz used in the attack was purchased legally. “No laws were violated in the procurement of this weapon,” said Peter J. Forcelli, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Miami. In Florida, an AR-15 is easier to buy than a handgun.

It’s not about “mental illness,” it’s about horrifyingly easy access to weapons that should be reserved to the military.

• With the Parkland shooting, three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern United States history have come in the last five months. Here is a graphic that records the grim toll of school shootings across the nation.

Three of the ten worst in just the last five months. Is it unreasonable to suspect that Trump’s encouragement of open expressions of hatred and contempt has a lot to do with it?

Democrats are repeating their calls for tougher gun legislation.

“At some point, we’ve got to say enough is enough,” Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said on the Senate floor. “Let’s talk about that 19-year-old carrying an AR-15. Let’s do what needs to be done, and let’s get these assault weapons off our streets. Let’s accomplish something on background checks.”

But in an interview on WIBC radio on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that public policymakers “shouldn’t just knee-jerk before we even have all the facts and the data.” He added, “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together.”

But we do have the facts – unless there’s a huge fraud going on – that an assault rifle was used and that 17 people were killed. We also have relevant facts about previous shootings. I think those are relevant facts when we point out that without that kind of gun, an angry ex-student can’t kill as many people as easily. All these school shootings are school shootings – they involve guns, so yes, we do get to say that guns should not be so easy to get, especially the rapid-fire kinds of guns.

Some of the survivors implored Congress to finally take action. Republicans called for prayers, but argued that no single fix to the nation’s gun laws would deter a shooting like the one on Wednesday.

In what universe? If Cruz had been unable to get his hands on an AR-15 he would not have been able to shoot so many people.

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