Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander says he's on board with strengthening background checks, as the White House has implicitly endorsed. He also says there's no excuse for inaction after the Parkland school shooting.
"Nobody can just sit still and say we can't do anything," he said Tuesday after an event in Hohenwald, Tenn. "We have to recognize 2nd Amendment rights, but there ought to be plenty we can do to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people."
Alexander and Tennessee Senator Bob Corker supported legislation proposed after the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The bipartisan bill would have tightened up the country's criminal background check system, creating incentives for government agencies to report information and setting up penalties for those that don't.
Asked what more needs to be done, specifically on regulating access to the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, Alexander turned to schools.
"We should be looking at — at least at the state level and local level — having more counselors in schools identifying the children who might be dangerous to other children," he said. "Perhaps there's a federal role for that as well. But we can't stand still and do nothing in the face of such horrible incidents as we saw in Florida this past week."
Corker and Alexander have — at times — clashed with the gun lobby, but both have received campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association. However, no federal politician in the state has gotten as much support from the NRA as Brentwood Congressman Marsha Blackburn, who is now running for U.S. Senate.