GOP candidates: Gun laws won't stop 'crazies'

Story highlights

  • Mike Huckabee: What law would have stopped this?
  • Marco Rubio: Criminals don't follow gun laws

Washington (CNN)Republican presidential hopefuls said Friday that new gun laws would do nothing to prevent mass killings like that on a college campus in Oregon this week.

"I can tell you that I always find it interesting that the reflexive reaction of the left is to say we need more gun laws," Marco Rubio said at a Dubuque, Iowa, town hall event. "Criminals don't follow gun laws. Only law-abiding people follow gun laws. And there is just no evidence that these gun laws would prevent these shootings."
Passing more gun laws would simply prevent law abiding people from being able to defend themselves, he said.
    Mike Huckabee said on CNN that people suffering from mental illness who are bent on murder won't be deterred by additional restrictions on guns.
    "I keep waiting for someone to tell me what new gun law can we past that would have prevented this shooting or Sandy Hook or Aurora or Charleston," Huckabee said. "Just tell me what gun law that is because I've yet to have somebody tell me what that is."
    Huckabee said it was an armed man who stopped the shooter from more deaths.
    "When I hear people say 'fewer guns' Fewer guns in the hands of crazy people? I agree," Huckabee said. "But maybe a gun in the hands of a police officer, a security officer or a well trained citizen who could intervene and at least save some of the lives, if not all of them."
    Ben Carson also said at an Iowa news conference that tighter additional gun control laws wouldn't prevent incidents like the Oregon shooting.
    "Gun control only works for normal law abiding citizens. It doesn't work for crazies," he said.
    Donald Trump also spoke about the campus murders on Friday, saying on MSNBC, "You're going to have these things happen and it's a horrible thing to behold, horrible. It's not politically correct to say that, but you're going to have difficulty and that will be for the next million years, there's going to be difficulty and people are going to slip through the cracks. What are you going to do, institutionalize everybody?"
    Carly Fiorina noted at a South Carolina event that despite the college being a gun-free zone, the shooter managed to get on campus with several guns.
    "So before we start calling for more laws I think we ought to consider why we don't enforce the laws we have and I think we need to know a little bit more about this incident," she said. "One of the first things we can do is prosecute those folks who have guns and aren't supposed to have guns according to the law. We need to know more about this particular shooter but it appeared that he is one of those individuals who should not have had access to a gun."
    John Kasich, who was campaigning Friday in New Hampshire, said Oregon already has tough gun laws.
    "I don't believe that gun control would stop this. I think they have very tough gun laws in that state. The fact is more and more people believe that they should be able to defend themselves," he said. "You take guns away from people who are law abiding, the people who are going to cause these horrible things are still going to have them."
    Nine people and the gunman were killed and seven others were injured in the shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday, according to the Oregon State Police.