Congressman Brian Mast said school safety is the number one issue in the nation right now and he wants to do something about it.
“How do we give every parent and every student the confidence that no student will ever go to school in danger again?" he said. "That has to be in my opinion the statement and the commitment by the president of the United States, by all 435 members of Congress, every member of the Senate, state legislators, parents, students, police officers, sheriff’s office, you name it, how do we make sure that no student goes to school in fear and they truly have nothing to fear for? That has to be the commitment and it has to be accomplished now."
The freshman Republican representing Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties called for a debate on gun control.
He said he's making a list of what needs to be looked at.
"I’m looking at gun restrictions, age restrictions, restrictions on people with mental illness, how you define all the things that have to go within those conversations, what goes on with access to weapons for people on terrorist watch lists and for those that are mentally ill and a host of other things," he said. "It’s quite the laundry list of things and I’ve been working on it with some of my other colleagues as well."
While in the Army, Mast used assault weapons.
"I carried an M4 carbine in combat and I’ve fired tens of thousands of rounds in an M4 carbine, it’s very similar to an AR platform," he said. "We carried it because it was the most effective and deadly weapon that we could carry as individuals on the battlefield and those platforms absolutely have to be looked at and say what are we going to allow a citizen to have out there?"
He said if the National Rife Association disagrees with his position, he will return donations made to his campaign.
"That’s not the measure by which we go out there and look for good legislation," he said.
Mast said he wants students at Douglas High School and elsewhere to know he's hearing their voices.
"If we want to say not one more school shooting, not for kids, not ever, not again, if we want to be able to say that, then there has to be resources put into schools," he said.
Mast spoke to WPTV exclusively following an event at The Weiss School in Palm Beach Gardens celebrating students' accomplishments, where he told students school safety is a top priority.