Ryan calls Florida shooting an act of 'pure evil'

Ryan calls Florida shooting an act of 'pure evil'
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? MORE (R-Wis.) on Thursday condemned a Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead, referring to it as an act of “pure evil,” but predictably did not call for new gun control legislation.

“There are a lot of worries that come with being a parent of teenagers. We’ve got three of them. This is the nightmare; this is pure evil,” Ryan told reporters at his weekly news conference in the Capitol. “For these kids, yesterday should have just been a typical high school day. In an instant, this became the worst day of their lives.”

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On Wednesday, a 19-year-old man opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 students and faculty and wounding 15 others. The shooter had previously attended the school but was expelled for disciplinary reasons.

As he has done after other recent mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, Ryan emphasized the issue of mental health when discussing the Florida shooting.

“We passed legislation on mental health. We want to make sure that if someone is in the mental health system they don’t get a gun if they are not supposed to get a gun,” Ryan said. “We will find out as facts come out whether there was a breakdown or not in the system here today.”

Democrats have pressed Ryan to create a special select committee to explore ways to combat gun violence, as well as pursue more rigorous background checks for gun purchases. But Ryan said Congress had already passed mental health laws that were just starting to take effect.

“We passed mental health legislation two years ago because of the underlying mental health issues that were behind these shootings. That legislation is now just taking place; that legislation is now just being implemented,” Ryan said.

“From earlier reportings, we understand there may be some mental health issues with this shooting, so the question is: Are those laws where they need to be? Are they being implemented properly? Are they being enforced correctly?”