After Parkland shooting, some call for mental health reforms while others want gun control

PHOTO: President Donald Trump arrives to speak in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, in Washington, Feb 15, 2018, about the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.PlayCarolyn Kaster/AP
WATCH After Parkland shooting, some call for mental health reforms

Local officials in Parkland, Florida, and their federal counterparts are grappling with Wednesday's deadly school shooting and proposing what they believe are necessary changes.

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Like so many prior school shootings and other mass shootings across the country, the debate over whether it is appropriate to discuss changes to gun control laws so soon after the tragedy is mixed in with grief.

And like so many other mass shootings, some shift attention toward the need for mental health support and treatment to prevent actions of future would-be shooters.

Here's a rundown of the split in the debate among local and federal officials who have come out of either side.

Calling for gun control discussions

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie

PHOTO: Broward County Superintendent of Schools, Robert W. Runcie, speaks to the media about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed, on Feb. 15, 2018, in Parkland, Fla.Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Broward County Superintendent of Schools, Robert W. Runcie, speaks to the media about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed, on Feb. 15, 2018, in Parkland, Fla.

"Students have been reaching out to me, reaching out to staff, probably board members and others, saying that now, now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws in this country. So our students are asking for that conversation. And I hope we can get it done in this generation, but if we don't, they will," Runcie said at a joint news conference this morning.

"The second thing I would say, that the governor alluded to it," he added, referring to Gov. Rick Scott, "something we can do now and get done in the legislative session is some real funding for mental health support for our youth and organizations in our community so we can properly provide the right kind of interventions. We should not have disconnected youth wandering around in our communities and we know that they need additional support."

Sen. Bill Nelson

PHOTO: Senator Bill Nelson of Florida speaks on the floor of the senate in Washington after observing a moment of silence for the victims of a mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018.C-SPAN
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida speaks on the floor of the senate in Washington after observing a moment of silence for the victims of a mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018.

The Florida Democrat spoke on the Senate floor about how a pattern has evolved where Senators end up speaking out after mass shootings "to beg our colleagues to take common sense actions that we all know will protect our children."

"When is enough going to be enough?" he asked.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

PHOTO: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, Feb. 15, 2018.C-SPAN
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at a meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, Feb. 15, 2018.

"I will say, personally, I think the gun violence -- it’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues," Mnuchin said at a House Ways and Means Committee Hearing this morning.

He did not specifically use the phrase "gun control," but his comments are notable since he is the first senior Trump administration official to call for a review of gun-related issues in the wake of the shooting.

Focusing on mental health

Florida Gov. Rick Scott

PHOTO: Florida Governor Rick Scott, speaks to the media while Superintendent Robert W. Runcie and Sheriff Scott Israel look on at a press conference about a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 15, 2018 in Parkland, Fla.Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Florida Governor Rick Scott, speaks to the media while Superintendent Robert W. Runcie and Sheriff Scott Israel look on at a press conference about a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Feb. 15, 2018 in Parkland, Fla.

"Next week in Tallahassee, I'm going sit down with state leaders, we're going have a real conversation about two things: How do we make sure when a parent is ready to send their child to school, in Florida, that parent knows that child is going to be safe? Number two: How do we make sure that this individual with mental illness does not touch a gun? We need to have a real conversation so we have public safety for our schools in this state," Scott said at the joint news conference this morning.

"They're committed to provide the resources and have a real conversation about how do we make sure we have public safety. I want to make sure that my children, my grandchildren, yours, everybody in this state, can wake up and be safe. I'm going to stay here and do everything I can," Scott said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

PHOTO: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks about the Florida school shooting at the Major County Sheriffs of America 2018 Winter Conference in Washington, Feb. 15, 2018.Shawn Thew/EPA via Shutterstock
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks about the Florida school shooting at the Major County Sheriffs of America 2018 Winter Conference in Washington, Feb. 15, 2018.

During a speech in Washington this morning, the attorney general called for "effective enforcement of our gun laws -- focusing on criminals and dangerous people, mentally ill people," before moving on to a new action he would like taken.

"So today I’ve directed my office of Legal Policy to work with our partners at Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, and across this administration to study the intersection of mental health and criminality and identify how we can stop people capable of such heinous crimes," Sessions said.

President Donald Trump

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shooting at a Florida high school in a national address from the White House in Washington, Feb. 15, 2018.Leah Millis/Reuters
President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shooting at a Florida high school in a national address from the White House in Washington, Feb. 15, 2018.

In his first televised remarks since the shooting, Trump never directly mentioned either mental health reform or gun control measures.

"It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference. In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community and country," he said this morning.

Earlier this morning, however, Trump did point to alleged mental health issues that were being reported about the suspect.

"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" he wrote on Twitter.

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