State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) released the following statement after the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“On Sunday morning, the lives of community members in Sutherland Springs were changed forever when a lone shooter walked into a Texas church and opened fire, killing 26 innocent people. Our hearts go out to all the families who are now left to grieve for their family members, as well as the residents of this close-knit community.

“There are no words left to say after senseless acts of tragedies such as these. Despite ‘thoughts and prayers’ and despite the periodic resurgence of the debate on gun control, these incidents keep occurring and we are continuously left speechless, knowing no words can heal the hurt of families, mend the wounds of the survivors, and prevent the next shooting from occurring. It would be irresponsible, then, to keep searching for the right words to say while simultaneously failing to take action in some way against these atrocities.

“On Monday, President Trump announced that it was too soon to talk about gun control and that the Texas tragedy was about mental illness, rather than guns. But even if that were the case, that still does not mean we should do nothing. If Republicans want to call this a mental health issue, then it is not enough to just talk about it. They need to invest in mental health care. That means raising taxes or prioritizing social services in our budgets.

“If lawmakers are not willing to do what it takes to fight mental health crises, then action needs to turn to tighter regulations on the purchasing of guns. If they are unwilling to do either, then their thoughts and prayers are empty words. As long as this administration is not willing to devote resources to what it names as the root of the problem, or to regulate access to deadly weapons, American citizens will continue to be unsafe even in their houses of worship.”

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