Lawmakers across the country are under pressure to address gun violence and school shootings following the killing of 17 people in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. Nowhere is the debate over gun laws as fierce as it is in Florida, where survivors traveled to the state capital this week to call on state legislators and members of Congress to take action.
Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, represents the district that includes Parkland. Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican, represents a district north of the school and has called for new restrictions on guns in the wake of the shooting. They joined us from the memorial in Parkland to discuss how warning signs about the suspected shooter were missed, and what can be done to prevent school shootings.
The following is a transcript of the interview with Deutch and Mast that aired Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, on "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Democrat Ted Deutch who represents the congressional district where the shooting occurred and his House colleague Brian Mast, a Republican. His district is north of Parkland and they join us from the memorial near Stoneman Douglas High School. Good morning to you both gentlemen. I want to start with you Congressman Deutch, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office 23 calls came in regarding this shooter or his family. Sheriff Israel told CNN this morning, "I have given amazing leadership to this agency." Would you agree with that?
TED DEUTCH: Well I'll tell you what the sheriff needs- to needs to do and he's doing it. I talked to the sheriff last night about this. We need to find out exactly what happened, why it was that there were so many signals not just from the visits but the social media postings, there is so much that- that has happened the FBI has admitted that the call came in and that was missed. All of that is, is just it's one more blow to a grieving community but it also- we can do two things. We can continue to figure out what happened to make sure that never happens again and still take meaningful action to ensure that weapons of war like the one that that the shooter used can never be used by another- in another mass shooting anywhere in any school or any other place in America.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Will you be getting a briefing from the FBI on why they missed these signals?
TED DEUTCH: We will be getting a briefing from the FBI. I also expect and I know those of us the delegation from down here especially is interested in getting a full briefing once all of the information is available about- about these missed signs about what happened. It's vital for us to do that at the same time that we work together inspired by these survivors to take action to prevent this from happening again.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Mast I want to bring you in here because you've had a change of heart in the wake of Parkland. You're now calling for a ban on the AR-15 and also an increase in the age limit for purchase. Why, and did you in this case change your view?
BRIAN MAST: Look we've seen a lot of shootings out there. We've seen what's happened here in Parkland. We've seen what happened in Las Vegas. We saw what happened in Orlando. And for me personally it pains me to know that I went out there willing to defend my country, willing to give everything with almost the exact same weapon that's used to go out there and unfortunately kill children here in Parkland and I think there's a very real opportunity here for response in here for action and that's what really brought me to, to my change of heart in talking about this. I just can't stand to see that personally.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But for those two items that you are supporting it doesn't appear that your party or your congressional leadership is behind you on that. Do you have a sense that any other Republican rank and file members will join you in this call?
BRIAN MAST: So let's look at one of the ways that we could bring people into this conversation, not just my my fellow rank and file members, Republican leadership in the House and the Senate but also the president. You know what I love about my president is that he is a man of action and I can tell you that as veterans and soldiers when we see a chance to save life we don't hesitate, we don't have a conversation, we go out there and do it. I think that's what the travel ban has been all about. It's been about saving lives in our community and in our country. Let's take that exact same model and apply it right now to this situation--
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you don't--
BRIAN MAST: --Let's put a pause right now--
MARGARET BRENNAN: You don't have any numbers of who's with you at this point? Because the president hasn't called for an assault weapons ban.
BRIAN MAST: I don't have the numbers, but I think we - I think we can get the president on board and members of Congress onboard to say let's put that same kind of pause on onboard right now where we look at who's having access, what do they have access to. What were the failures that went on with the FBI and the ATF and in other state agencies in, in the states? What's everything that's going on there? Let's get back to the American people after this pause with sensible regulation with sensible solutions because we are going to look at this in a very real way. It made sense in the case of terrorists coming into this country. I think it should make sense in looking at guns.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do either of you gentlemen believe that teachers even trained teachers should be armed?
TED DEUTCH: I- I don't. The answer -- the shift to arming teachers is a distraction. It's a distraction from the important discussion about all of the things that can be done right now this week when we go back to Washington on mental health, banning bump stocks, universal background checks, preventing people on the terror watch list from getting guns. Those aren't controversial. Everyone supports them. So that's what we need to focus on. But the important point here is because of these young leaders the ground is shifting. Members of Congress are now willing to stand up and, and be as offended as everyone else when the millionaire lobbyist who runs the NRA goes to a political convention and says that people like me and Congressman Mast who want to take action to support kids don't care about children. They're onto him. They're pushing back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But even after Sandy Hook, 15 Democrats voted against an assault weapons ban. This isn't simply about the NRA at this point.
TED DEUTCH: I- I as I said though the ground is shifting. It's, it's, every member of Congress and the Senate who's going to hear from these kids there. They've been in Tallahassee. They're coming to Washington. They're going to have face-to-face conversations. They're important conversations where they will impress upon them the need to take action. Look, the fact that there are now more than a dozen companies who have severed their relationship with the gun corporations that run the NRA tells you that things are starting to change. People are standing up to save lives.
BRIAN MAST: I think there is room for this conversation. There are great candidates in terms of former Marines, former law enforcement people that already have concealed carry permits. We have to be careful with it undoubtedly because teachers are people too.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you agree that teachers should be armed, Congressman Mast? Should teachers be armed?
BRIAN MAST: That's what I'm saying. I think some teachers -- some teachers are the right candidates for this. Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Ok-
BRIAN MAST: That had training, that had the desire to do this. But remember they are people too. They can leave a firearm laying around. They don't necessarily have training in identifying the threat and identifying the innocent. And you have to make sure that they get the appropriate level of training.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well thank you both for joining us today for this conversation.