In the wake of the on-air shooting death earlier this week of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, two television journalists from WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy is calling on Congress to act “in any way, shape or form” to reduce gun violence in America.
Speaking Friday on CNN's "Newsroom," Murphy said Congress's inaction makes them complicit in the rising number of mass shootings in the U.S.
"This whole culture of mass violence in which congress does nothing I think sends a message to a lot of these individuals who are becoming unhinged in their mind that it's ok to go out and commit these murders because no one seems to be doing anything to stop it," said Murphy.
Earlier on the same show, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore said gun control legislation diverts attention away from mental health, which he called the "real problem."
Murphy said that kind of rhetoric is stigmatizing, and should stop, adding that there is no inherent connection between mental health and violence.
"The reality is that the data shows that in countries and communities that have more guns, especially have more guns in the hands of criminals, especially have more assault weapons out on the streets, there's more gun violence," said Murphy. "More guns equals more gun violence."
Murphy and Republican Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy have introduced legislation that would overhaul America's mental health care system by offering incentives for states to integrate mental and physical health services, and provide funding for early intervention, research, and the creation of innovative mental health policy.