Sen. John N. Kennedy (R., La.) said on Tuesday during an appearance on CNN that America needs greater "idiot control" instead of more "gun control."
Kennedy, Louisiana's junior senator who has developed a reputation for his colorful use of colloquialisms since coming to Congress in 2017, was on "CNN Newsroom" to discuss his opposition to any new gun control measures being pushed in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla. earlier this month.
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The shooting, which left 17 dead and countless wounded, has reignited the national conversation surrounding gun control.
CNN's John Berman asked Kennedy about his opposition to a bipartisan measure being championed by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R., Texas) that would strengthen the information reporting process between state and federal agencies to better identify who is and isn't eligible to purchase firearms.
"I don't think we need more gun control laws," Kennedy said.
"Not a single one?" Berman replied.
"No," Kennedy affirmed. "I think we need more idiot control."
Cornyn's legislation, S. 2135 or the Fix National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Act, has taken on new importance since Congress came back into session Monday. The bill aims to increase the efficiency of federal and state agencies in reporting criminal offenses and other pertinent background information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database. The NICS database, which is run by the FBI, determines if an individual meets the requirements for firearm ownership. The bill rewards agencies in compliance with the measure with greater federal funding while penalizing those that are not.
When pressed about who he classified as "idiots," the senator explained he was referring to those who commit crimes like the mass shooting in Parkland but not to those who are mentally ill. Kennedy acknowledged that in those cases, he might "misuse" the term. He argued that there is, however, too often a jump to assume all mass shooting perpetrators are mentally ill when they might just be "evil." Kennedy specifically cited the fact that many have been quick to say the Parkland shooter was mentally ill but no one has been able to confirm he was for sure.
"I don't know that, so I will call him an idiot," Kennedy said.