Jindal: La. shooter "shouldn't have been able" to buy gun

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday that John Russell Houser, the gunman who killed two people and injured nine at a Lafayette, Louisiana movie theater last week, "shouldn't have been able to buy a gun."

Houser, who also killed himself, had a long history of mental illness but was able to legally purchase a gun in Alabama.

Jindal said in an interview on "Face the Nation" Sunday that if Houser had been involuntarily committed in Louisiana, that information would have been reported to the national background check system and would have prevented him from buying a gun.

"Every time this happens it seems like the person had a history of mental illness. We need to make sure that the systems we have in place actually work," Jindal said. He said that every state should strengthen their laws so that information is being reported to the background system and that system is working.

The governor also said law enforcement is going through journals that were found in Houser's hotel room and is talking to his family members. They are also trying to confirm whether he was in other movie theaters in South Louisiana the night of the shooting.

"We may never know exactly why he chose Lafayette, why he chose Thursday night. We know this theater had security on Friday and Saturday night. We know he chose a theater with an exit that allowed him to park his car near that exit. It appeared that he was trying to escape. He had a wig. He had disguises in the car, in the hotel room," Jindal said.

Jindal also had a promise for members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who have threatened to disrupt the funeral service for one of the victims of the shooting.

"If they come here to Louisiana, if they try to disrupt this funeral, we're going to lock them up. We're going to arrest them," Jindal said. "They shouldn't try that in Louisiana. We won't abide by that here. Let these families grieve. Let them celebrate their daughters, their children, their spouses, their loved ones' lives in peace. They better not try that nonsense here."

In a separate interview, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia said that he needs "Republican help" to expand the background check system. He worked with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, to do so in 2013 but the bill was voted down in the Senate.

"I need my friends on the Republican side of the aisle to help us with a most reasonable, seasonable path forward," Manchin said. "It's not gun control, it's just saying that, listen, if you go to a gun show, commercial transaction, we need to know who you are and if you've had a problem before, if you've been criminal or a mental problem. And if you go on the Internet. Those are two areas that we don't have personal contact."

In addition to closing loopholes in the background check system, Manchin said a lot of states and territories are not doing enough to inform the federal background check system of people who have faced a criminal prosecution or mental adjudication and should not be allowed to purchase a gun.

"If they do that we'll have a more accurate database. This person would have been caught," Manchin said. "I'm not saying they did anything wrong. But somehow that shouldn't have happened, him having a criminal record and also a mental problem on top of that. So he was kind of a double whammy on this."

Manchin also tried to assure gun owners that the federal government is not trying to interfere with their right to own a gun.

"People are scared...and basically they said, 'I'm scared because...I don't trust the government.' And it's a shame when you get into that position that you don't trust anybody," he told host John Dickerson. "We're not going to let that happen. We're going to protect the Second Amendment rights."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.