Alabama US Senate candidates respond to calls for gun violence legislation

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Candidates for Alabama's US Senate seat are reacting to the horrific mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

During a campaign stop in Huntsville Monday afternoon, Republican candidate Bradley Byrne responded to calls for Congress to work on legislation related to gun violence.

"We have to stand up against that evil," said Byrne.

Byrne said he wouldn't support legislation that interfered with the constitutional right to bear arms.

"I don't know that there is a legislative solution. But I do think this, we know that in a number of these cases they suffer from mental illness. I think we need to do more to reach out to people who have mental illness issues," explained Byrne.

Republican candidate John Merrill spoke with WHNT News 19 in Huntsville before a campaign event Monday evening.

"This is one of the most disappointing things we've ever seen in the history of this nation, especially with two mass shootings in less than 24 hours," said Merrill.

Merrill said he wants to see all current state and federal gun laws enforced.

"I think it's so important to make sure we fully implement the laws that are already on the books related to gun control issues or the restriction of certain type firearms and to make sure that we conduct extensive background checks as they are supposed to be conducted which will keep some people from being able to obtain those firearms," said Merrill.

Republican candidate Roy Moore released a statement to WHNT News 19 saying the answers can be found if people turn back to God.

"Mass shootings and senseless murders of innocent people are evidence of a moral problem in our country, not a lack of gun control.

Liberals who want to take our guns continue to protest our inalienable right to acknowledge God in our schools, our courts, and in the public square.

Without God and recognition of the Christian religion which once formed the basis of our society, we will continue to suffer national immorality, as according to George Washington, the father of our country, in his farewell address.

As U.S. Senator, I will continue to support our rights under the 1st and 2nd Amendments in the U.S. Constitution."

In a statement to WHNT News 19, Republican candidate Arnold Mooney criticized the Democratic party for calling for legislative action.

"It's a mistake for the Left to use tragedies like this one to try to enact their radical, anti-Second Amendment agenda. Not a single idea being pushed by the Democrats would keep guns out of the hands of criminals: all they would do is disarm law abiding citizens, and ensure criminals are the only people left with guns."

Tommy Tuberville's campaign did not respond to request for comment on this issue before our deadline Monday evening but sent the following statement at 7:15 p.m.

“I am praying about the victims and families of those involved in the tragedies over the weekend. Career politicians have failed to address the challenges facing the mentally ill. They have no strategy-no plan! Congress needs to come off their vacation and do their job.” 

Alabama Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, is running in hopes of keeping his seat in 2020. Jones said on Twitter Sunday that the government is failing in the most basic responsibility to keep the people of this country safe. Jones added that the country must come together to reject rhetoric that divides us and stokes hatred.

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