Tennessee lawmaker says porn, violent movies among 'root causes' of school shootings: It's a 'big part'

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., seemed to at least partially blame pornography for school shootings during a meeting with local pastors last week.

Black, 67, told ministers during a listening session in Clarksville, Tennessee, that as a nurse she likes to look at the “root cause” of gun violence in schools, according to audio published by HuffPost.

Black, who is running for governor, blamed gun violence in schools on a myriad of issues: the “deterioration of family,” violent movies, mental illness and pornography. Without a strong support system, Black said, young people can “go in the wrong direction” after seeking “something” on the internet or with certain friends.

As for pornography, Black didn’t explain exactly how it contributes to gun violence, but she did say it is readily accessible.

“It’s available. It’s available on the shelf when you walk in a grocery store,” Black said. “Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there.”

“All of this is available without parental guidance, and I think that is a big part of the root cause that we have so many young people that have mental illness get caught in these places,” she continued.

Black added that in some cases, especially with the 17-year-old shooting suspect who killed 10 people at his Texas high school earlier this month, friends were able to pinpoint a change in behavior of the teenager.

“So I believe mental illness is something we’ve got to address. We’ve got to address the family,” she said.

Addressing mental health issues has been something Black has advocated for in wake of recent mass school shootings. On her gubernatorial campaign website, Black said she is an advocate for gun rights and has an A+ rating with the National Rifle Association.

“In response to mass shootings, liberals have called for banning and confiscating all guns. We must recognize mental health issues are the cause of mass gun violence, not the guns themselves,” her campaign website states.

Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action, decried Black’s comments on Twitter.

“Despite all of the data and experts at her disposal, [Black] chooses to blame ‘grocery store pornography’ for school shootings,” Watts said. “And she doesn’t mean magazines that glorify guns.”