Republicans are pushing traditional religious and family values as a solution to the epidemic of mass shootings in addition to their calls to harden schools and focus on mental health.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) pointed to a lack of school prayer when talking about gun violence.
“We had AR-15s in the 1960s. We didn’t have those mass school shootings,” Scalise said during a press conference Wednesday.
“Now, I know it’s something that some people don’t want to talk about. We actually had prayer in school during those days,” Scalise continued. “We had other things going on in our society where we took a different approach to our young kids. And let’s look at that. These are tough conversations we shouldn’t be having that we’re not having about why we’re seeing more young kids go astray.”
The main Republican response to the Uvalde, Texas, shooting centers on boosting school security. Rep. Richard Hudson (N.C.), the House Republican Conference secretary, is leading a bill to fund more school resource officers, mental health counselors and emergency preparedness training. Other proposals focus on physical security improvements.
But Scalise is not alone among Republicans in turning the focus to socially conservative values by calling for the increased presence of religion in schools in order to curb gun violence.
“Our children are suffering and we face a mental health crisis in our country because the radical left has spent decades removing God from our school and our society,” Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) said during a Second Amendment Caucus press conference on Wednesday.
The focus on religion and family comes as Democratic members of Congress aim to restrict the weapons used in recent mass shootings — high-capacity semi-automatic rifles — through age limit increases, a high-capacity magazine ban, background check expansion or other measures.