South Dakota senator getting backlash for commenting on deadly Las Vegas shooting

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - South Dakota senators are chiming in on this week's deadly shooting in Las Vegas and one is getting backlash for his comments.

Sen. John Thune, (R) South Dakota

Senator John Thune told a reporter that people in an active shooter situation needed to "get small" to better protect themselves.

Supporters say the senator may have been offering advice for future incidents, but the statement left members of the South Dakota Democratic Party with a sour taste in their mouths.

"Personally shocked, surprised that Senator Thune made these comments. A bit insensitive and it's just a continued rhetoric of the Republican Party,” expresses Sam Parkinson, executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party. “There were a bunch of people in the area and totally, you know I'm not sure if get small helps. It just seems to be at random."

Parkinson says he thinks gun laws are not strict enough and would like to see them under review.

Specifically mentioning how easy it is to access guns and the need for mental health screenings.

But South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds wants to protect the Second Amendment.

"I think the first thing we have to talk about is whether or not their intent is to simply take guns away from normal individuals, is their goal to make it more restrictive for the average American to be able to utilize and to exercise the right to bear arms," states Rounds.

We reached out to Senator John Thune but he did not respond to his previous comment.

Thune responded in a statement saying, “My deepest condolences and thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this horrific violence and everyone who was affected by this senseless act. I’ve been moved by all the stories of bravery and heroism shown by police officers, other first responders, and members of the crowd who stepped up in the midst of this terrifying situation. While we know some details about the shooter and the sequence of events that led to this incident, there are still many unknowns. The investigation is ongoing, and I expect that we’ll soon learn more about what law enforcement officials are able to determine about this case.”