LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Gov. Matt Bevin said during a national radio interview Monday that it’s “premature” to discuss individual measures to address school safety as federal and state policymakers grapple with the aftermath of recent fatal shootings at two high schools in Kentucky and Florida.

Bevin appeared via phone on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, where host Steve Inskeep asked the governor for his thoughts on fellow Republicans President Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio signaling their willingness to consider raising the legal age to purchase semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21 and limiting the sizes of gun magazines, respectively.

Bevin said policymakers should look at all options in response to deadly shootings at Marshall County High School in Benton, Ky., on Jan. 23 and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, “when it’s less emotionally raw.”

“There is no immediate solution,” he said. “When you are dealing with evil, it’s important to understand how can you stop it? That’s the real question everybody has. Are we going to frisk every kid coming into a school? Are we going to surround them in barbed wire? Are we going to put metal detectors at the entrance of every school?

“It’ll be just a matter of time before somebody’ll breach whatever security measure is put in place because if somebody truly wants to perpetrate evil, it has always been able to be done, and it’s a tragic and sad reality.”

Kentucky's House and Senate education committees are set to discuss school safety issues during a joint meeting Thursday after 15-year-old Gabriel Parker allegedly gunned down two of his schoolmates and injured others in the Marshall County High School shooting Jan. 23. In Florida, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Bevin noted that Parker, who faces two murder charges and 14 assault charges, could not legally own a gun and broke laws on bringing a gun to school and killing others in the shooting.

“The question I ask, and I mean it sincerely, what other law would a child who’s willing to break those three laws have obeyed that would have precluded something like this from happening?” Bevin said.

Pushing for stricter gun laws as the solution in response to the deadly school shootings, as some lawmakers and some survivors of the Florida shooting have, is “a very naïve and premature assumption,” Bevin said.

Inskeep asked Bevin whether he would support lifting a ban on federal funding for gun-violence research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was enacted by Congress in 1996.

Research, the governor said, “is imperative,” though he said other avenues should be examined as well.

“On that front, on any number of fronts, we would be foolish not to be aware of the impact of guns specifically in this instance,” Bevin said. “… I think it’s important to look at everything, and by everything I mean not those things that those seem imperatively in their minds to focus on, but to look at what we are doing to our young people – the use of drugs, the depression, the lack of engagement by parents, the lack of morality in our society. We need to look at everything.”

Reach reporter Kevin Wheatley at 502-585-0838 and kwheatley@wdrb.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinWheatleyKY.

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