After Lafayette Shooting, Jindal Says It's ‘Not the Time’ to Discuss Gun Control

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal dropped out of the 2016 presidential race on Tuesday. Lee Celano/Reuters

In the wake of the Lafayette, Louisiana, theater shooting that left two innocent moviegoers dead and nine injured, Governor Bobby Jindal said it is "not the time" to discuss gun control.

Asked about gun control repeatedly during a Friday evening press conference, the Republican presidential candidate said not enough time had passed since the incident to allow for discussion of the issue. 

The gunman, John Russell Houser, turned the gun on himself after the mass shooting. Despite a history of mental illness and crime, Houser was able to purchase the handgun he used in the shooting legally in the state of Alabama. His criminal record included charges of arson, domestic violence and stalking, and thus gun control activists argue Houser should not have had access to a gun. Indeed, his wife once hid Houser’s guns.

"Now it's time to shower the victims with love and prayers," Jindal said when first asked about gun control, noting it had been less than 24 hours since the incident. When asked again, he said, "My answer isn't changing. Now is not the right time. Let us mourn."

Houser’s crime was seen as a copycat act following a 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and 70 injured. James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, was found guilty of 165 charges and could face execution. The Lafayette shooting occurred just days after a mass shooting in Chattanooga and several weeks after a shooting at a Charleston church that left numerous parishioners dead.

Although Jindal said it was “not the time” to discuss gun control, President Barack Obama during an interview with the BBC spoke on the matter just before the Lafayette shooting.

"If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I've been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense, gun safety laws," Obama said. The president vowed to keep working toward gun control measures for the remainder of his term in office.

Correction: President Barack Obama discussed gun control during an interview with the BBC just before the Lafayette shooting. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the interview took place in the wake of the shooting.

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