Raimondo on Parkland school shooting: ‘Are we getting numb to it?’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday she fears Americans are becoming too used to mass shootings, one day after a teenage gunman killed 17 at a high school in Florida.

“The thing I worry so much about – are we getting numb to it?” Raimondo, a Democrat, told WGBH radio. “You pick up the paper. ‘Oh, another mass shooting. What’s the next thing on the agenda?’ It just needs to stop us dead in our tracks, once and for all.”

“How many times do we have to see this happen before we get serious about gun reform?” she said.

Raimondo did not cite any specific policies she thinks should be adopted in the wake of the massacre in Parkland, Florida, but said policymakers should focus on “keeping guns out of the hands of people who are going to do these things.”

Raimondo noted that she signed a new state law last year that bars convicted domestic abusers from owning a gun. “To me, that’s a no-brainer, right? That should be pretty self evident,” she said. But, she continued, “It took me three years to get it through the legislature. So the politics on this is a challenge.”

Asked why it was so difficult to pass gun restrictions in Rhode Island’s overwhelmingly Democratic General Assembly, Raimondo said, “They are Democrats who are endorsed by the NRA, and just not open arms to this issue.” Both Democratic legislative leaders, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, were endorsed by the NRA in 2016.

The governor’s comments came shortly after she ordered U.S. and Rhode Island flags flown at half-staff until sunset Monday, in accordance with a proclamation from President Trump. She also asked residents to lower their own flags.

“I took my kids to school today,” Raimondo said. “You think twice before they get out of the car.” Her children, ages 13 and 11, were “scared” by the news out of Florida, she said.

Raimondo is seeking re-election this fall. Some of her potential opponents also offered their reactions to the Parkland shooting in the hours after it happened:

Republican candidate Patricia Morgan did not post a message of her own about the incident, but she did retweet this message from her campaign’s youth outreach director:

Independent candidate Joe Trillo had not commented on the shooting on social media as of noontime Thursday.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook