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For Nev. Sen. Cortez Masto, It Is A Time To Comfort Shooting Victims, Families


President Trump said this morning that the man who shot and killed 59 people in Las Vegas is a, quote, "very, very sick individual." And when asked, the president said the time to talk about guns would come later. Some though on Capitol Hill want the conversation to happen right now. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, has been speaking out. He blasted his colleagues saying, quote, "thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with legislative indifference."

Others, including Nevada's Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, says it's not the time for politics. Senator Cortez Masto joins us now on the line. Thanks so much for being with us and our condolences to all of you in Nevada.

CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO: Thank you. I appreciate that.

MARTIN: I imagine you're getting briefings from law enforcement, from investigators. Do you have any news you can share on a possible motive that could have inspired this?

CORTEZ MASTO: No. I will tell you, I was at the fusion center last night. And our law enforcement, both the local state and federal FBI was there. I talked with the FBI as well. And they're working diligently doing everything they can, taking the evidence from the homes and the hotel room and witnesses to uncover the motive. And so they're still working through that process. And so that's why I said there's yet facts to come forward.

We've got to let law enforcement - give them the time they need to really do a thorough investigation and get the cooperation from everybody along the way.

MARTIN: As I mentioned, Senator Murphy has been calling for action in this moment. Obviously, his state was the site of the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. What do you make of his plea to use this moment to call for new gun control legislation?

CORTEZ MASTO: Well, let me just put this in perspective. Right now for my purposes here in Nevada, you know, I spent last night not only at the fusion center, at University Medical Center where many were brought because it's a level-one trauma with gunshot wounds and family members there. Then I went to the Family Resource Center where family members are going because they cannot find their loved ones in the hospitals.

And they're, God forbid, hearing the worst of all from the coroner medical examiner that they have their loved ones. So this part - and they're still trying to uncover where their family and their friends are. There's a lot of grief in the community not only by those families but also by survivors, who are still in a state of shock and still trying to figure out what happened. So right now for my purposes here in Nevada, in particular in southern Nevada, it is bringing comfort and relief to those families, to the survivors.

And that's my main...

MARTIN: Do you believe that conversation should happen in coming days for tighter gun control?

CORTEZ MASTO: Absolutely. Listen, absolutely. I think this is a conversation we need to have. I - this is something that as attorney general, I focused on. We need commonsense measures, gun control measures that save lives. I think that it is important that we keep the fire arms out of the hands of the mentally ill and criminals and terrorists. And I also think by strengthening our background check system and expanding mental health treatment, we can do that as well.

But we need to have this conversation, absolutely.

MARTIN: Catherine Cortez Masto is the Democratic senator from Nevada. Thanks for your time this morning.

CORTEZ MASTO: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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