WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Newly-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan believes that Congress needs to work on mental illness laws in the wake of the San Bernardino massacre that left 14 people dead.
Speaking to “CBS This Morning” on Thursday, Ryan said the current laws are outdated.
“What we have seen – and a common theme among many of these mass shootings – is a theme of mental illness. And we need to fix our mental illness laws, our policies. They’re outdated, and that is something that we are working on right now,” he explained.
Ryan mentioned a mental health bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., which would create a new position in the Department of Health and Human Services to specifically deal with mental illness.
“A lot of these people are getting guns who are mentally unstable, who should not be getting guns,” he told “CBS This Morning. “And this is a gap in our laws that we feel needs to be filled.”
Authorities say 28-year-old Syed Farook and his 27-year-old wife Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center Wednesday morning. They were killed in a shootout with police following the shooting.
There is currently no motive for the shooting, but the FBI is not ruling out terrorism.
Ryan said lawmakers need to work together to address potential “home-grown jihadists.”
“Without knowing the facts in San Bernardino, we also know there are home-grown jihadists. We also know that there are ISIS inspirational events, and we need to figure out how to handle that as well,” he said. “So there are multiple things that need to be addressed.”
Ryan also touched on the fact that those who are on the no-fly list are able to buy firearms legally in the U.S. The House speaker said that due process needs to be respected.
“On this particular issue, we do have a Constitution. Citizens have a due process rights, and anyone can just be arbitrarily places upon the no-fly list. In fact, that’s happened quite a bit. People have been placed on the no-fly list mistakenly, innocently. We need to respect due process so when we rush to act on these things, let’s make sure that we act accordingly, let’s make sure we act according to citizens’ rights (and) the Constitution, and let’s make sure that what we do solves these problems. That is why I think we need to take a pause and see what’s happening,” Ryan told “CBS This Morning.”
In an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the law needs to be changed to not allow those on the no-fly list to buy guns.
“For those who are concerned about terrorism, some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes,” Obama said. “But those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them. That’s a law that needs to be changed.”
Obama also said that there’s a pattern of mass shootings now within the U.S.
“The one thing that we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world,” the president said. “We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events because it doesn’t happen with the same frequency in other countries.”
The weapons used in Wednesday’s attack in San Bernardino were purchased legally.