Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter staying in Vail
VAIL — Former President Jimmy Carter is staying in town at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa.
Carter, 90, and his wife, Rosalynn, 87, arrived in Aspen on Tuesday, appeared at an event at the Aspen Institute that afternoon and then spoke in Carbondale that evening before heading to Vail.
Carter was the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981 and remains remain entrenched in global affairs to this day, ranging from human rights to disease in West Africa to the crisis in the Middle East.
The Carters were interviewed by Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson as part of the McCloskey Speaker Series at the Greenwald Pavilion on the institute campus.
Isaacson brought up last week’s South Carolina church shootings and the state’s ensuing decision to remove the Confederate flag from its capital grounds. He noted that the event highlighted America’s race, guns and mental-health issues. Carter, who grew up in a predominantly black town in Plains, Georgia, said it’s about time South Carolina lowered the flag, but the National Rifle Association wields “almost disgusting influence” over Congress and state lawmakers for gun laws not to change.
“So, we’ll continue to have a plethora of guns,” said Carter, the owner of multiple firearms and still an active hunter.
He added, “I think that anybody that gets a gun ought to be fully qualified and give a background briefing.”
Rosalynn Carter said statistics prove that most mass-shooters in America haven’t gotten access to mental-health services.
“The largest mental-health facilities in our country are prisons and jails,” she said. “You can get money for prison and jails. It’s really difficult to get money for mental-health services.”