June 12, 2016

How pathetic is it that this question even had to be asked of Sen. Jeff Flake? While discussing the mass shooting at the gay nightclub on Orlando this Sunday, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked the Senator why we can't have a discussion about gun control instead of only focusing on terrorism after an incident like this one.

Flake admitted that we ought to be able to do both:

TODD: Before I get to that, I want to start with the tragedy in Orlando. Obviously, we don't know yet the motivations. There's concerns that there may be ideological motivation of the gunman. But we don't know those facts. No matter what, this is going to be one of the worst mass-casualty shootings in American history. I just want to get your initial reaction, senator.

FLAKE: Well, we don't know what happened, but we reached out to federal officers. But obviously a horrible, horrible tragedy. And everyone, what happens is one too many. So we'll be looking at it as it unfolds in the coming days.

TODD: Senator, do you think it's possible to have a conversation, it seems as if when it gets determined what the motive is, we'll either have a gun-debate conversation in this country, not a debate, but a gun conversation, or we're going to have a terrorism conversation. We don't seem to be capable of doing both at the same time. Why is that?

FLAKE: Well, it does seem to be the case. If it is found out that this person was at least conspired by ISIS, then it'll probably be a terrorism debate. If he wasn't, it may be a gun debate. But you're right, it seems to be one or the other.

TODD: But can't we have both? I mean, can't we talk about both? Aren't they in some ways interrelated? We want to make it harder for terrorists to attack us any way possible.

FLAKE: You bet. And I think we can. A lot of us have been talking for quite a while in terms of background checks and tightening background checks, particularly as it pertains to those with mental illness. And I think that that debate can and should go on as well as the debate on how to best protect us against those who were inspired or funded or directed by international terrorists.

Good luck pushing that message with the NRA or with the rest of your party Senator. In GOP-land, it's never a good time to talk about fun control.

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