Even as mass demonstrations continue pushing for new laws to curb gun violence such as the Florida shooting, a central Illinois congressman said he does not see a need for major new curbs on guns.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville said during GLT's Sound Ideas the Florida high school shooter could have been prevented from buying a gun if he had been charged with a felony for bringing a gun to school earlier.
"It's things on the ground that need to be addressed in laws we already have. Why punish law-abiding citizens who are not part of the problem with enacting something that only addresses the firearms side of the equation of these tragedies?" said Davis.
Davis said more funding should go to mental health programs and loopholes in background checks should be closed, but he said he does not see banning guns as a solution.
The Republican said the most recent tragedy in Florida was preventable.
"Go take a look at the transcript of the caller into the FBI tip line. It gave detail after detail after detail and concern after concern over that child who eventually committed the tragedy that he did at Parkland. And ask yourself when you read that how in the world could anybody at a federal agency close that case without investigating it," said Davis.
Some advocates want the age to buy a gun raised to 21. Davis said he believes parental judgment of readiness is a key part of that decision.
Davis says he remains a strong advocate for the Second Amendment.
Davis Touts Graduate Student Bill
The ink is hardly dry on the new federal tax code, and Davis is already trying to revise it.
Currently only graduate teaching assistants get their tuition credits tax free. Davis said he wants to broaden that.
"We want to make sure that we allow tax-exempt tuition waivers to apply to those who may be working in the athletic department or in student affairs," said Davis.
Davis said his bill will make advanced degrees possible for those who might otherwise not be able to afford a master's or doctoral program.
Davis said he crafted the bill after hearing from assistants in the Illinois State University Athletic Department who have to pay taxes on their tuition credits.
"These are students here who are trying to reduce the amount of debt they are leaving college with," said Davis.
Under current law, only graduate students who are teaching, or research assistants, receive tax exemptions for their reduced or waived tuition benefit.
Davis will face Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in the November election. The 13th District stretches from Bloomington-Normal to the Metro East area.
You can also listen to GLT's full interview with Davis:
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