Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson Says Mental Health Is ‘A Central Point’ In Gun Reform Conversation

As communities demand gun reform following the mass shooting at the elementary school Uvalde, Texaslegislators are to attempt to reach a mutual understanding — one that Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says puts mental health first. While Hutchinson says he fully supports the Second Amendment, which grants the right to bear arms, he agrees adjustments can be made.

“We really don’t want to deprive our citizens of the right to protect themselves, to enjoy it, whether it’s some type of semi-automatic weapon,” Hutchinson told “CBS Mornings.”

He called on lawmakers to “stop being so divided and say, ‘Is there anything we can agree on? “”

The Republican politician, who served on the National Rifle Association’s school safety task force following the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, said the search for who can buy and own guns is an essential aspect of the gun reform discussion.

“I think what you have to look at are those who have mental health issues and that’s a focal point,” Hutchinson said. “We want to keep them out of the hands of people who can do that kind of harm and then secondly, again, I think you have to look at the level of maturity whenever you have semi-automatics that can do the damage that we see with the AR -15 style of weapon.”

He said lawmakers were discussing expanding background checks, increasing investments in safety in schools and other sectors as well as promoting mental health initiatives. He also mentioned conversations about an increase in the age required to buy guns from 18 to 21, but added that he did not believe in restricting the types of guns for people over 21.

“I think we need to delve into that,” the governor said of the age limits.

Hutchinson noted that while gun reform ideas, such as adding more security guards to public places, may not be the same solution that others have in mind, ” it protects our citizens and it is something absolutely essential”.

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