Raimondo orders flags lowered for Texas church shooting victims

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo is ordering flags across the state to be lowered in honor of the 26 people killed in a shooting at a Texas church.

The Democratic governor on Monday ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Thursday.

Raimondo says her heart breaks for the victims, and says that she and her husband send their thoughts and prayers.

She adds that they also pray that “leaders in Washington find the courage to make changes that will prevent the next tragedy.”

In addition to those killed, around 20 people were injured in the shooting Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Authorities say the shooter, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, was later found dead in his vehicle.

There was a moment of silence during House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Rhode Island, in honor of the victims of the deadly church shooting in Sutherland Springs.

But Pelosi says the moment of silence is not enough.

“Our members are getting just exasperated by moments of silence,” Pelosi said. “They want time of action.”

Democrats in Congress have long fought for universal background checks for firearms sales and a renewal of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Congressman David Cicilline is one of the leaders of this effort.

“Sadly, we have not seen any willingness on the part of our Republican colleagues to move forward with even basic things,” Ciciline said.

Mike Stenhouse from the Conservative Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity says the shooter could have bought a gun a different way, even if a store had not sold him one.

“I think it’s short-sighted and sophomoric to think further gun control could stop a situation like this,” Stenhouse said. “Criminals break the law, it doesn’t matter what the law is.”

President Donald Trump said  the focus should be on mental health and not gun control.

When Pelosi was asked about what she thought of Trump’s comments, she said she doesn’t like to spend a lot of time commenting on what the President says.

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse both agree that Congress needs to take action.

“It’s hard to imagine a much louder signal than all those little children that were murdered in Connecticut and we managed to ignore that,” Whitehouse said. “But at some point, there is a tipping point and I hope soon that we get there.”

“Once again, it underscores the need for effective gun safety laws,” Reed added.