Following the tragedy that occurred near the University of California at Santa Barbara on Friday, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., raised concerns Sunday about the necessity for background checks on firearms and improving the mental health of U.S. citizens.

"This tragedy demonstrates once again the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill," King told The Washington Post. He added, "Even though this issue may not be popular in particular congressional districts, if we want to be a national party, we out to be looking closely at it."

King has been a staunch supporter for gun control despite his GOP Party's tough stance on protecting the Second Amendment.

According to the Post, last year King and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., wrote up a bill that extends background checks to include most private firearm sales. The bill has yet to move onto the House floor for a vote.

However, Sens. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., wrote similar legistlation last year and was brought to the Senate for a vote. The bill needed 60 votes to pass the Senate but it only got 54 votes.

King admitted that getting the bill to the House floor this summer is going to be "very difficult" considering the previous attempts but he said there needs to be a discussion about the issues of firearms sales and mental health in Washington now.

"We've got to look at how we define mental illness, who is denied weapons and who is not, and focus the discussion," King said. "We have to have this debate."

King is not the only public official to bring up these discussions again. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have also expressed the need for expanded background checks, the Post reported.

"Gun violence has not place anywhere, least of all at our nation's schools and college campuses, and we must do more to keep guns out of the wrong hands and increase access to mental health services," Duncan said in a statement.

On Friday, Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old college student, reportedly killed six people before fatally shooting himself in his vehicle. He stabbed the first three people to death inside of his own apartment and went on a shooting spree around the community of Isla Vista where he shot three more people.