Responding to two mass shootings over the weekend, President Trump called Monday for “strong background checks” for gun purchases. We agree.
On Saturday, a 21-year-old gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, retail area, killing least 22 and leaving two dozen injured. Hours later, a 24-year-old man killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio. Both shooters used assault-style rifles.
The motive in the Dayton attack is unclear, but the gunman in the El Paso shooting left an online racist screed aimed at immigrants prior to his terror attack.
With his own immigration rhetoric blamed by his political opponents for creating an atmosphere for violence, Trump tried to change the discussion Monday. He blamed the media for contributing “greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years” and announced renewed backing of background checks.
Background checks were part of a multipronged Trump response to the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The 2018 initiative also included raising to 21 the age for assault-style rifle sales and a ban on bump stocks. Most of that initiative fell by the wayside, the victim of Congressional inaction, although the Trump administration eventually banned bump stocks through Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives rules.
We supported background checks and raising the age for assault-style rifle purchases in 2018, and do so still. Neither would unduly infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. The Texas gunman wouldn’t have been able to buy his weapon legally if the purchase age were 21. We haven’t seen anything to show that either shooter would have failed to pass a background check, but the idea still has merit.
Both crimes were horrifying. In combination, they are the sort of repugnant nightmares that should drive a nation to action, except we’ve seen it so many times before with so little impact.
How many savage days must our nation endure before we will take commonsense steps to save lives?