More than a month after the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders and challenged Congress to consider new gun reform. But Senator John Thune says some of it might not be the best road to take.
Thune says that what happened at Newtown is a horrible tragedy and he believes there are steps that could be taken to make schools safer. In fact, he agrees with some of the provisions of President Obama's proposals, but he says some of them go too far.
"I think the sort of natural attack on the Second Amendment that comes anytime we have this discussion isn't the place to start on this," Sen. Thune said.
Thune believes some of the things being talked about, such as an assault weapons ban, are an overreach.
"They're going to ask people who currently have assault weapons, under the legislation that’s being proposed in Congress right now, to go down and get finger printed, get registered, make sure that they wouldn't be transferable when that person dies or through a sale. Very, very, in my view, sweeping legislation," Sen. Thune said.
He says there are already millions of the military-style guns out there and many South Dakotan's use them for target shooting or varmint hunting. And while he doesn't agree with a ban, there are some things he believes the President is doing right.
He says the National Instant Check System, or NICS, the background check program to purchase guns, could be ramped up.
"That would capture more of the information about people who have mental illness issues or have criminal backgrounds or things like that. I think we could reform our background system, the way that go about finding people. To me the main issue here is the access that people who shouldn't have firearms have. And that’s what we ought to be focused on," Senator Thune said.
He also says a close look at the role violent video games play is a worthwhile conversation.
"There are lots of kids today who, by the time they turn 18, have already killed 10,000 people on video games. There is a desensitization that, I think, occurs in our culture when you have the access that young people have to video games, to movies. All those things that promote and create this sort of culture of violence that we have in America today I think need to be a part of the discussion," Senator Thune said.
Senator Thune also says that a conversation about putting armed guards in schools in one he would like to have with those in the education community.