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Rep. Gallego: 'Red Flag' law could've helped prevent Uvalde shooting

Texas School Shooting
Posted at 3:21 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 18:35:32-04

CNN sat down with congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona, a democrat.

He believes red flag laws could've helped prevent the Uvalde shooting.

What do you think? Are red flag laws a good way to start with this problem we have in the U.S.? Would you like to see them expand it on a national level? Would you like to see them in your home state of Arizona that I couldn't help but notice was not included in that map?

Well certainly, I do think it is a good start. Kudos to the republicans in Florida that got together in a bipartisan manner and led with courage and passed laws that have probably saved hundreds of lives.

It certainly would save a lot of lives in Arizona, especially people who are attempting suicide.

That community is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this. It is a good start.

There are other gun safety regulations we should be looking at that I think could also be inclusive and could also be very helpful, but let's get moving with this.

What are some of the other ones you would like to see, and let's be clear here, that you think could pass the senate? Because obviously, Democrats control the house, but you need 60 votes in the Senate. What do you want to see that could win over ten republicans plus joe manchin, plus Kyrsten Sinema?

Well I think it's very logical for us to say, because we already do, if you're below the age of 21, you do not have a right to buy a handgun. Why are we allowing young men and young women below the age of 21 to buy a weapon that is more dangerous than a handgun? Especially the AR-15 style weapons. I think that's something logically they did in Florida. It's the same thing we can do here. I know it requires a little bit of courage from some of our republican colleagues, but this is the type of moment we could get together and say we can actually truly save lives. Had we had a red flag law plus a ban on those types of weapons under age of 21, the chance of the shooting in Uvalde is diminished.

And look, frist of all, it's very clear the Uvalde shooter waited until he was 18 and bought it legally. I think the same is true for the buffalo shooter and the parkland shooter. I have raised this with Senator Pat Toomey, who is generally conservative on these gun issues but he's shown some wiggle room and willing to work with democrats. Toomey's response when I said handguns are banned for anyone under 21. Why not do the same for all firearms? Especially AR-15s, Toomey's response was you can serve in the military at age 18. Why is it okay for somebody in the army to have an ar-15 at 18 but not somebody who is not in the army? You served. What would be your response to Sen. Toomey?

Well number one, you can have a rifle if you're going to go hunting. But you don't need an ar-15 to go h hunting. When you serve in the military, you don't have a gun. That gun belongs to the government. You have to go through a background check. You're going to be under constant surveillance. That weapon is not in your position most of the time. Every bullet is accounted for, and you have to qualify and requalify every year. Before I got to shoot my first round, I had to lay on the grass and aim down a barrel for two weeks and dry fire in the marine corps. If we wanted to establish that as a norm for all shooters, I would be fine with that. But they're not the same. It's not -- it's definitely apples and oranges. Again, you can't compare the two.

So the house judiciary committee is going to vote tomorrow on a package of gun reform measures that almost certainly will pass the democratic controlled house. But do not really have a chance of getting 60 votes in the senate.
Why do that now when there seemed to be legitimate efforts at a bipartisan compromise going on? Why not wait and give these bipartisan coalition time to work?

Well, for us in the house, trying to figure out the mysteries of the senate is usually looking into a very, very foggy crystal ball.

Also, the other thing we have to focus on, there is an outcry that's happening in our communities right now.

Not just in mass school shootings but also every day where the shootings in urban parts of our country or any parts of our country.

They want to see there's politicians and officials who care about them, and we do have sensible gun safety regulations we should be pushing, talking about, and talking about all the time.

Yes, they may not have a chance in the senate.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't have those conversations because one day we will have a chance to actually pass these types of regulations and truly save lives.

Are you going to run against kyrsten sinema for the senate?

I think this is something we'll talk about in 2023. Right now, we're going to focus on 2022 passing these pieces of legislation.