Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Monday told President Donald Trump that a “culture of death,” “psychiatric drugs” and a lapse in morality are contributing to the increase in mass shootings in America.
He also said guns are not to blame because “there have always been guns.”
“This culture of death is becoming pervasive and if it’s not addressed by all the imperfect people in this room with a sense of purpose and sense of aspiration, I think we are going to see a continued trajectory that is not good,” he said during a governors meeting at the White House on Monday.
“There have always been guns in homes and fewer rules. It isn’t to say that these rules and restrictions are necessarily bad, but what has changed is what we do or don’t do as it relates to acknowledging the value and dignity of every human life,” he continued. “When you couple that with the number of psychiatric drugs that are increasingly systemic and have very severe warnings associated with them related to depression and suicidal thoughts, you put all these things in a mess and no one among us is bold enough or willing to step up and challenge of the fact that this is a problem. This is why it goes unchecked.”
He then called on Trump and his fellow governors to “seize the opportunities” to call Americans “to higher action as it relates to our mores.”
Monday was not the first time Bevin, a National Rifle Association-backed supporter of gun owners’ rights, has blamed mass shootings on cultural and moral issues, or on “psychiatric drugs.”
Last month, after an armed student attacked a school in his state and killed two and injured 18, Bevin blamed violence in movies, video games and music lyrics for desensitizing young people to violence. During an interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” last week, Bevin made similar claims and said that since guns have been around for decades, blame shouldn’t be cast on weapons.
“Fifty and one hundred years ago, children did not slaughter other children at school. What has changed? It isn’t the gun,” he said.
He then blamed a number of other cultural forces for the uptick in school shootings: video games, music, movies, television, drugs and broken homes.
“We have to look at what has changed in society and not have a knee-jerk response that another rule and another regulation is the answer,” he said on Fox News last week.
Kentucky is one of the top 10 states with the least restrictive gun laws, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The state does not require background checks for purchases, doesn’t license firearms owners and doesn’t regulate assault weapons.