Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFive issues that will define the months until the midterms Key senators to watch on Democrats' social spending bill Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he doesn't believe Congress has much power to stop school shootings.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that McConnell addressed the issue with a group of community leaders in Danville, Ky., where he said the federal government can't do much besides appropriate funds.
“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,” McConnell 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.”
Congress has faced increased pressure this year to pass stricter gun laws, particularly in the aftermath of school shootings in Texas, Kentucky, Florida and elsewhere.
The January school shooting in McConnell's home state left two people dead.
The Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 people dead and several others wounded. The survivors and parents of the victims have become outspoken advocates of stricter gun laws, and organized the March for Our Lives rally in March in Washington, D.C.
Congress passed a bill earlier this year that provided funding for increased school safety and counseling, as well as improvements to the national background check system.
However, lawmakers did not vote on legislation to raise the minimum age requirement to purchase certain weapons or to ban certain types of firearms, which gun safety groups had championed after the Parkland shooting.