PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — No surprise, both U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican, condemned the violence in Orlando.
“It’s absolutely appalling, and it’s devastating,” Toomey told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday. “The biggest mass shooting in American history. The scale is horrific.”
“Condolences and expressions of solidarity are not enough,” said Casey, also in Pittsburgh on Monday. “We have to take action.”
But the action each senator wants to deter gun violence that struck down so many is hardly the same.
Casey reiterated the need to ban military assault weapons, as was once the law.
“We should pass a ban on military style weapons, the kind of weapon that was used yesterday, the kind of weapon we’ve heard about over and over again,” says Casey.
“I don’t think taking a category of weapons and saying that law-abiding citizens can’t have that weapon, that doesn’t make anybody any safer,” says Toomey.
But both senators agree on strengthening background checks for gun purchases.
“It does make people safer, in my view, if we make it harder for the bad guys to get weapons,” notes Toomey.
Unlike Toomey, Casey would limit the number of clips a gun could be able to fire into a crowd.
“To fire round after round, in some cases hundreds of bullets, in a matter of minutes — the idea that we can’t control that is ridiculous,” says Casey.
Toomey says the focus should be on ISIS and radical Islamist terrorists who want to kill Americans.
“We have to destroy that capability, and I think we’re not doing enough to do that, and, domestically, I think we need to be taking stronger measures.>>
Both condemned targeting of gay citizens with Casey introducing his Hate Crimes Prevention Act to deny anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from purchasing a gun.
“If you’re going to engage in hate crimes, that’s going to prevent you from getting a weapon,” notes Casey.
Toomey wasn’t familiar with Casey’s bill, but both reaffirmed that local law enforcement needs more support, not less, to combat terrorism.