CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said the televised shootings of reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward heightened the need to find better ways to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns.

Alvarez said every state has different laws regarding background checks for firearm purchases.

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After the killings of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward in Virginia this week, she said there should be a push for universal background checks in the U.S.

“What we have to look at is when we do allow people to carry a weapon, there have to be safeguards. There have to be checks, background checks, mental health checks. You know, certain people should never be able to carry a gun,” she said.

The killer, Vester Flanagan, was fired from WDBJ two years ago, and Alvarez noted officials there tried to deal with his emotional problems before firing him.

“It sounds like they were doing the right thing at that station, and they did release him; but I think – again – when someone applies for a gun, we have to make sure that the safeguards are in place so that someone who has this potential, this violence in his background … something like this isn’t going to happen again,” she said.

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She acknowledged the debate about gun laws gets very contentious between gun rights groups and gun control advocates, but she said something should be done in light of the Virginia killings.

“I don’t think that more guns equal less violence. I think it equals more violence, and I think what we saw with that particular crime is another example of that,” she said.

Flanagan bought his weapon legally, but Alvarez said there should be better safeguards.

“It’s important that individual states have those safeguards in place, but also on a national level. There should be universal background checks. There should be checks into whether or not a person has domestic violence in his background,” she said.

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Alvarez is the guest on this weekend’s edition of “At Issue,” airing Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. on WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9FM.