'We can't just stand here and do nothing:' GOP Sen. shifts position on gun control

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - As outrage continues over the Florida high school shooting, key Republican lawmakers, including President Donald Trump, are putting their support behind some gun control measures.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was in Memphis on Wednesday, and he said he supports tougher federal background checks and has supported them since a mass shooting in Texas last Fall that killed 26.

"I think all of us feel--whether you're in the Congress or not--that we can't just stand here and do nothing," Alexander said.

Tuesday, Trump indicated the Attorney General should move forward with banning bump stocks--devices that can make weapons rapid fire, like those used by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock last October.

The president also tweeted background checks must be strengthened.

"The best thing we can do about these violent tragedies is to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them," Alexander said.

The Senator from Tennessee is backing federal legislation filed after a mass shooting at a Sutherland Springs Texas church in November when the shooter shouldn't have been able to get a gun in the first place.

The Air Force admitted it failed procedure when it didn't pass the shooter's criminal history along to the FBI. That mistake allowed the shooter to buy the gun he used in the shooting.

"The bump stocks and the more effective background checks are two good first steps, but that's not all we should do," Alexander said.

Wednesday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) tweeted he's working with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to up the minimum age for buying a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21.

It's the same type of gun reportedly used in the Florida high school shooting.

"It very well could be changing," political consultant Steven Reid said when asked if the tide is turning toward gun control in this country.

Alexander also said he thinks state, local, and federal resources should be devoted to guidance counselors in school districts and making sure there are more of them because they are the ones who can identify children who may be troubled.

On Wednesday, Alexander was also featured in an advertisement by Everytown for Gun Safety in the New York Times for taking contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

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