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Democratic Tennessee Senate Candidate Urges Tighter Mental Illness Checks for Guns

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Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen says the Florida school shooting shows the need for more rigorous background checks to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people.

Wading into a politically treacherous issue, the former Tennessee governor said Monday he's a longtime gun owner and Second Amendment supporter, but says he backs "common-sense" gun laws.

In comments to The Associated Press, Bredesen criticized the Republican-led Congress for inaction since last week's tragedy that killed 17 and wounded many others at a Florida high school. The 19-year-old suspect has been described as a loner with troubling behavior.

Bredesen said offering "thoughts and prayers" isn't enough. He said "real action" is needed to protect schools.

He said mental illness has been "the common denominator" in many gun-related attacks.

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