October 4th, 2015
11:46 AM ET

Mark Kelly: "I think people who are around an individual with mental illness do have some responsibility. And that does include the parents."

 

 SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Capt. Mark Kelly (Ret.)| Co-Founder, Americans for a Responsible Solution, joined anchor, Jake Tapper.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Liza Pluto – liza.pluto@turner.com 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Jake Tapper asks Capt. Mark Kelly about mass shootings: do you blame the parents for letting a child spiral out of control like this? [KELLY]: Well, we see time and time again, especially with mass shootings, that there's a component of mental illness, you know, with the shooter.  We have seen that in Tucson, in Sandy Hook, and Aurora, now in Roseburg.  And, you know, I think people who are around an individual with mental illness do have some responsibility.  And that does include the parents.   You know, they're - you know, the FBI has a profile on individuals like this.  And it steps somebody through.  You can see, what are the symptoms of somebody with mental illness?  And, you know, folks need to take action and get people, first, you know, evaluated for mental illness, and then if there's a serious problem, get them adjudicated mentally ill.  But more important than that, I mean, we have to close these loopholes that make it very easy for people who are mentally ill, and felons, and domestic abusers to get firearms.

 

Kelly on which gun laws can specifically prevent the Roseburg, Oregon shooting: You know - you know, with individual events, I mean, sometimes there isn't a specific law that you can point to that would prevent a tragedy like this from happening.  But with the combination of some really commonsense things that most Americans support, you know, stuff like let's require a background check before anybody gets a gun, and let's try to get people identified as mentally ill if they are dangerously mentally ill, and then let's get that information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is managed by the FBI. So, you know, often in the case of these mass shootings, if there were a couple components, if we did things better, some of these, not all of them, but some of these tragedies could be prevented.”

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Joining me now is Mark Kelly of Americans for Responsible Solutions, whose wife, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, was shot by a gunman in Tucson - Tucson, Arizona, who killed six other people.  Thank you so much for joining us, Mark.

I want to get to gun laws in a second.  But before I do, after Sandy Hook, President Obama talked about addressing this crisis in a holistic way, going after the culture, addressing mental health issues, and also gun laws.  But, right now the White House only seems focused on gun laws.  Is that the right approach?

MARK KELLY, HUSBAND OF GABRIELLE GIFFORDS:  Well, first of all, let my say that Gabby and I are both saddened by the shooting at Umpqua.  We grieve for the families.  And we have them in our thoughts and prayers.   It's sad that we have this situation where it almost seems now weekly there's a mass shooting.  You know, we have gun violence that's 15 to 20 times higher than other developed nations.  And it's, you know, for one basic reason, is that we have a lot of loopholes in our gun laws.  And our leaders should do something about that.   The president talked about a political solution to this problem.  And one of the other sad issues is that this has become a political - a political issue in our country today, and our leaders need to fix that.

TAPPER:  Do you think that there's only one way to approach this, through gun laws, and that the mental health component or the cultural components are not as important?

KELLY:  No, I think it's all important, you know, but one thing is really clear.  I mean, we sell 40 percent of our guns without a background check.  That means felons, people who are dangerously mentally ill have easy access to guns.  You know, mental health is certainly an issue, too.  But we have laws that make it easy for domestic abusers and stalkers to get their hands on guns.  And, you know, there's one pretty basic and simple solution, is that members of Congress in states - and people in - you know, elected leaders in state legislatures around the country can certainly do something about it.  And there's a lot happening in the states. But, you know, we really need to call on Washington, D.C., members of the House and Senate, to take action on this issue.

TAPPER:  The gunman's father, Ian Mercer, he spoke about the tragedy on Saturday.  Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IAN MERCER, FATHER OF GUNMAN:  Every time something like this happens, they talk about it, and nothing is done.  I'm not trying to say that that is to blame for what happened, but if Chris had not been able to get ahold of 13 guns, it wouldn't have happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  This is a really important issue to you, personally, obviously.  Your wife was seriously injured in one of these horrific mass shootings.  How much - as something of a victim like this, how much do you blame the parents for letting a child spiral out of control like this?  Do they bear any responsibility?

KELLY:  Well, we see time and time again, especially with mass shootings, that there's a component of mental illness, you know, with the shooter.  We have seen that in Tucson, in Sandy Hook, and Aurora, now in Roseburg.  And, you know, I think people who are around an individual with mental illness do have some responsibility.  And that does include the parents.   You know, they're - you know, the FBI has a profile on individuals like this.  And it steps somebody through.  You can see, what are the symptoms of somebody with mental illness?  And, you know, folks need to take action and get people, first, you know, evaluated for mental illness, and then if there's a serious problem, get them adjudicated mentally ill.  But more important than that, I mean, we have to close these loopholes that make it very easy for people who are mentally ill, and felons, and domestic abusers to get firearms.

TAPPER:  What gun laws can you point that specifically would have prevented the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, or any of the horrific shooting events we have seen in the last five years or so?

KELLY:  You know - you know, with individual events, I mean, sometimes there isn't a specific law that you can point to that would prevent a tragedy like this from happening.  But with the combination of some really commonsense things that most Americans support, you know, stuff like let's require a background check before anybody gets a gun, and let's try to get people identified as mentally ill if they are dangerously mentally ill, and then let's get that information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is managed by the FBI.

So, you know, often in the case of these mass shootings, if there were a couple components, if we did things better, some of these, not all of them, but some of these tragedies could be prevented.

TAPPER:  I want to ask you about gun-free zones, because Oregon is a state where people can carry concealed weapons on them, but the school itself, Umpqua Community College, was a gun-free zone.
What is the purpose of putting up a sign that says gun-free zones?  It seem, to a lot of people, that that might attract bad guys.

KELLY:  Well, I mean, there have been studies that have shown - you know, first of all, mass shootings, there's been about - less than 15 percent have happened in a gun-free zone.  And there's no indication from other - from another study that any shooter intentionally went to a gun-free zone.  You often see that as, you know, some folks will say that that's why somebody went to a gun-free zone.  Well, there's no - there's no evidence of that.

And, you know, I think the idea is, where there are more guns, people are less safe.  I mean, if you have a gun in any kind of situation where things start to get heated, I mean, there's a higher likelihood that somebody is going to get shot.  And I think what we see in states where the gun laws are the strongest, there are less deaths from gun violence.  I mean, that's certainly clear.

TAPPER:  All right.  Mark Kelly, thank you so much.  And please send our best to Gabby Giffords.

KELLY:  You’re welcome.  I will do that.  Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER:  Thanks so much.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

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