(FLINT, Mich.) — The father of a teenager critically injured in last month’s shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan questioned Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over gun control issues during the Democratic debate on Sunday.
“The man who shot everyone including my daughter in Kalamazoo had no mental health issues recorded and a clear background. What do you plan to do to address this serious epidemic?” Gene Kopf asked the two candidates during the debate in Flint, Michigan.
“I don’t want to hear anything about tougher laws for mental health or criminal backgrounds because that doesn’t work,” he added.
The man’s daughter, Abigail, 14, was one of eight victims in the shooting that left six dead including her grandmother. Suspected shooter Jason Dalton, an Uber driver, has been arrested and charged with the murders.
Before the candidates answered his question, Kopf said that his daughter –- whose heart stopped and was on life support after the shooting -– “is now laughing and giggling and has a long road to physical recovery.”
“I am looking at your daughter and I’m very grateful that she is laughing and she is on the road to recovery,” Clinton responded first. She then reiterated her call for comprehensive background checks and closing the online and so-called Charleston loopholes that make it easier for people to buy guns, and criticized Sanders for his vote for a bill that protected gun manufacturers from liability.
Sanders also pledged his support of closing the Charleston loophole, named for the shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C., where the alleged gunman was able to buy guns despite having a felony conviction on his record because the background check took more than 72 hours.
He said the country should “do everything we possibly can to minimize the possibility of these mass killings.”
He has tried to explain that controversial vote of his by saying he wanted to look out for small “mom and pop” gun shops, but tonight he seemed to defend it. He said he did not believe that if a seller sold a product legally they should be held liable, and he argued that if they could be, the implication would be “ending gun manufacturing in America.”
“I don’t agree with that,” he continued.
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