Texas shooting draws broad reaction from presidential candidates
September 17, 1999
Web posted at: 12:19 p.m. EDT (1619 GMT)
FORT WORTH, Texas (CNN) -- In the wake of Wednesday's shootings at a Fort Worth, Texas church the Democratic presidential hopefuls are calling for increased gun control while some of the Republican hopefuls believe such violent acts stem from an "evil passing through America."
"A hurricane is something we cannot do anything about. It is an act of God, but this shooting is something people do to people," Vice President Al Gore said while meeting with students in San Diego on Thursday.
"We do know that the availability of assault weapons and deadly weapons in the hands of people who shouldn't have them contributes to a repeat" of those incidents and "to having these things happen over and over again," said Gore, the Democratic 2000 presidential race front-runner.
"I don't know of a law -- a governmental law -- that will put
love in people's hearts," said Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the GOP presidential front-runner. Bush canceled a campaign swing Thursday in Michigan to return to his home state because of the shooting.
"There seems to be a wave of evil passing through America now, and we as a society can pass laws and hold people accountable for the decisions they make, but our hopes and prayers have got to be that there is more love in society," he said.
"We must stop turning a blind eye to societal elements that
create such empty hearts that commit these crimes. We never think
this could happen in our own community, but the people of Fort
Worth have become the latest victims," said GOP candidate Gary Bauer. He called on the Justice Department "to review the evidence in these recent shooting to determine if a pattern of crimes against men and women of faith exists."
Eric Hauser, a spokesman for Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley, said the shooting "once again reenforces the need for greater, more effective gun control."
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a Republican presidential candidate, called the recent spate of shootings "a broad-based problem. The Democrats blame it on (lack of) gun control. The Republicans blame it on Hollywood. Neither is totally right."
Jeff Flint, a spokesman for GOP presidential candidate Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, said the shooting "doesn't change his position at all. He's been talking on the Judiciary Committee about how the Clinton-Gore Administration has done poor job of prosecuting gun crimes. If we made clear that anybody who used a gun in crime would be severely punished ... that is what we need to be doing. Until that's done there should not be any more gun laws."