WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he doesn’t think the federal government can do much to respond to school shootings.
“I don’t think at the federal level there’s much that we can do other than appropriate funds,” McConnell said at an event with community leaders in the city of Danville during Congress’s Fourth of July week-long recess, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Kentucky Republican also said that improvements to school security might be the best solution — though, he added, Congress could do little on that front either.
“You would think, given how much it takes to get on an American plane or given how much it takes to get into courthouses, that this might be something that we could achieve, but I don’t think we could do that from Washington, I think it’s basically a local decision,” he said.
“It’s a darn shame that’s where we are, but this epidemic is something that’s got all of our attention,” he added. “And I know it’s got the attention of every school superintendent in the country."
His comments Tuesday came days after the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md., where five people were killed.
The GOP-controlled Congress has opposed Democratic calls to pass tighter gun laws such as universal background checks. The last major government spending package Trump signed into law in March, in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, included a provision that aimed to improve state compliance with the national background check system for gun purchases.
The bill also provided more than $2 billion for school safety, far more than the $50 million the House passed in the STOP School Violence Act, and more than the $100 million in the Senate version of a similar bill. Democrats had argued that the $2 billion figure is Republican spin because that total includes money for programs that already exist. The measure did not provide money for arming teachers.