Arizona sheriff says Obama dodged his town hall question

Story highlights

  • Arizona sheriff and congressional candidate Paul Babeu said that President Barack Obama should have talked more about mental health funding in his guns town hall
  • Babeu said Obama ducked his question at Thursday night's town hall

Washington (CNN)Arizona sheriff Paul Babeu said Friday he was still waiting for an answer from President Barack Obama on how he would address the mental health issues underlying gun violence.

"We already know that all of these gun restrictions that have failed, we can't ignore that information, and that's what I was trying to get at with the president, that we have to look to solve these issues," Babeu told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."
Babeu, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Arizona's 1st District seat in Congress, pressed Obama on the question of mental health funding at CNN's town hall Thursday night.
    "What would you have done to prevent these mass shootings and the terrorist attack. And, how do we get those with mental illness, and criminals, that's the real problem here, how are we going to get them to follow the laws?" Babeu asked Thursday.
    But Obama focused his answer on preventing criminals from getting guns in the first place, and preventing children in inner cities from developing into criminals.
    "What we do have to make sure of is that we don't make it so easy for them to have access to deadly weapons," Obama said.
    Babeu said Friday he wasn't happy with that answer.
    "Clearly he didn't answer that. When you're looking at all these mass shootings, everyone, especially those of us in law enforcement have a passion to protect people and save lives, what are we going to do to stop these mass shootings?" Babeu said Friday.
    The mental health question is one that typically splits along partisan lines -- with Republicans blaming mental health problems for mass shootings and Democrats focusing more on access to guns. Obama has included $500 million in his gun control plan for access to mental health care and treatment.
    "$500 million, quite frankly that he proposed isn't going to cut it," Babeu said Friday.