DeKALB – While he doesn’t support taking guns away from people, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger reiterated his push for stricter background check and ownership regulations, and mental health reform while on a bus tour in DeKalb.
Kinzinger (R-Channahon) spent the day touring the 16th Congressional District, which includes much of DeKalb. Following two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that occurred a day of each other and left 31 dead, Kinzinger asked for a new approach to the topic of gun violence in a lengthy response Monday.
“After the repeated cycle, we have to look at this in a broad way,” Kinzinger said in an interview outside DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport. “Number one is mental health. I think evil is real, and its whispering into the minds of our kids.”
Kinzinger also advocated raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21, to require universal background checks for gun purchases, to ban certain high-capacity magazines and for states to adopt “red flag laws” that place protective orders on those with mental issues.
He also said national media should not disclose the name, photo, or other information about mass shooters because it spawns further violence.
“Let’s quit publishing the [darn] pictures of these people,” Kinzinger said. “Let’s quit publishing their names, and for God’s sake, do not publish their manifesto. I read the manifesto of the El Paso shooter. It horrified me, but there is somebody somewhere that’s going to read that and it’s actually going to inspire them. Copycatting is a real issue.”
Kinzinger, who says he owns an AR rifle, said he supports the first and second amendments, but hopes there are other points politicians can agree on to alleviate the frequency of mass shootings.
“I don’t think you’re ever going to solve the issue by government regulations and laws, but there are things we can do to help mitigate,” he said. “It’s got to end. If that takes universal background checks, getting rid of things like hundred-round magazines, I’m all in. We can agree on that, and then continue to have this debate and hopefully less shootings.”
He also addressed the issues of white supremacy and racism in the wake of the shootings, as the El Paso shooter, who is white, is reported to have said he “wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible.”
“I think everybody has a right to be a white supremacist and a racist, or a black supremacist, anything, right?” Kinzinger said. “It’s America. The difference is when you take your belief and turn it into political violence that becomes terrorism. This mass shooting is a thing that goes beyond politics, it’s a real heart issue. I hate white supremacy as much as I hate ISIS, and I’m going to do everything I can to eradicate that.”
He said though many have expressed shock at the level of violence that occurred within a day, he is not optimistic that will be enough shock to change minds in Washington.
“I’m not an optimist on this issue, quite honestly,” he said. “On these areas, I don’t want to move to massive gun control legislation, I don’t believe in it. But here are areas I think we can work together on. I was actually pretty optimistic the president mentioned the background check issue. I hope he follows through on that.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle