Mike Huckabee Talks Gun Control In The Hours After The San Bernardino Shooting

Update: According to officials, two of the suspected San Bernardino shooters are dead following a shoot-out with police, and one of the suspected shooters is a female. Late Wednesday authorities identified the suspects killed as Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the woman, and said they had been in a relationship. Farook was a U.S. citizen and an employee of the of the San Bernardino County Health Department. Further details about Malik are not yet known. Police also detained a third individual at the scene, but it's unclear whether or not that person is connected to the shooting at the Inland Regional Center (where officials say they might have found an explosive device).

In a press conference earlier, the San Bernardino Police Department Chief Jarrod Burguan confirmed that up to three people opened fire at Inland Regional Center, leaving upwards of 14 people dead, with at least 21 additional people injured. At the time of the press conference, law enforcement was still clearing the scene, and the search for the suspects was ongoing.

Earlier: As officials continue to manage an active scene in San Bernardino, today's mass shooting is already being politicized. Salon reports that Mike Huckabee implied that a ban on guns may have set the stage for the shooting at Inland Regional Center where current reports tell of at least 14 people dead, and 17 more injured. At 3:34 p.m. EST, Huckabee tweeted, "Praying for those impacted by the shooting in California today." He followed that sentiment with comments to reporters with him in Iowa. The candidate started by talking about the lack of available information, saying it's "premature to draw any conclusion" about the gunmen's identity or motivation. It's what he said next that is causing concern. CBS journalist Alan He shared Huckabee's controversial comments on Twitter:

So a tragedy, it's always a tragedy when somebody engages in some mass murder. I think it's a reminder to us in most every case that we've had in this country, two things have been a common denominators [sic], one a mentally unstable person. Two a gun free zone. And those seem to be the common denominators. I don't know if that's the case in San Bernardino but if it turns out to be it'll be one more horrible tragedy that we'll have to grieve through as a country.

Though Huckabee does not directly correlate lack of guns to violence in the case of San Bernardino, he does imply that the mass shooting may have been a preventable tragedy if guns were permitted inside the facility. Research indicates that this is a fallacious assumption. Boston Magazine reports that one Harvard study in 2007 found that tighter gun laws correlate to higher murder rates. Continuing to perpetuate the idea — especially in the midst of tragedy — can be deeply harmful to advancing the national conversation on eliminating violence.

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images