Ryan, a Democratic congressman from Ohio, criticized the arguments made by some Republican politicians and NRA members that the root causes of the frequent mass shootings in the United States are mental illness and violent video games.
“The NRA, their suggestion is we do nothing, we do nothing,” Ryan said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “We know that mass shootings happen primarily in the United States, at least at this level.”
Ryan added: “There’s mental illness in other countries, there’s video games in other countries. How we take some modest steps to start getting these guns out of the hands of people.”
Last weekend’s mass shootings occurred inside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and at a popular nightlife area in downtown Dayton, Ohio. The alleged shooter in El Paso, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, reportedly wrote in an online manifesto before carrying out the attack that he was targeting Mexicans because of the “invasion” of Hispanics into the U.S. – a detail that has Ryan and other critics of President Trump blaming the hardline immigration rhetoric for, in part at least, inspiring the shooter.
“There are ethical lines that we should not cross,” Ryan said on Sunday. “I think the President hasn’t done a good job at all setting a tone of bringing people together. He’s the first one that torched the joint on Twitter and start a fight. I mean even the supporters of him say this. Like, he can’t do that. This country needs to heal, and I’m looking for new and better, not left or right.”
Despite claims by some of the president’s critics that Trump’s rhetoric and language fueled the El Paso shooter to carry out his attacks, Crusius in his online screed noted that he held his anti-Hispanic views long before Trump’s election in 2016.
While Ryan – who has been in the news a good deal since the shootings last weekend -- says he is optimistic about his own presidential run, poll numbers still have him far from being a viable contender in the Democratic presidential primary.
An average of recent polls put together by Real Clear Politics has Ryan averaging less than 1 percent support nationwide, compared to more than 31 percent for former Vice President Joe Biden. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont sit second and third, respectively, with Warren nabbing just over 18 percent and Sanders pulling in 16.5 percent.