WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Monday called for urgent action to prevent gun violence and said all Americans must “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy” after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio killed 29 people and wounded dozens.
Trump, whose rhetoric has frequently been condemned as stoking racial divisions, laid out a number of policy options but did not mention his own past remarks.
“These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” Trump said in remarks at the White House. “Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
On Saturday, a gunman killed 20 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in what authorities said appeared to be a racially motivated hate crime. Just 13 hours later, another gunman in downtown Dayton, Ohio, killed nine people.
Trump said mental health laws should be reformed to better identify mentally disturbed individuals and he called for capital punishment for those who commit mass murder and hate crimes.
He said he had directed the Justice Department to work with local authorities and social media companies to detect mass shooters before they strike. He said the Internet, social media and violent video games had helped radicalize people.
Earlier on Monday, Trump had urged lawmakers in a tweet to put strong checks in place on potential gun buyers, suggesting action could be tied with immigration reform. In his remarks at the White House, however, he did not mention immigration.
(Reporting by Roberta Rammpton and Susan Heavey; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Bill Trott)
By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – The Pittsburgh city council on Tuesday was due to introduce a package of gun-control laws including a ban on assault-style rifles, nearly two months after a gunman shouting anti-Semitic messages killed 11 people in a synagogue.
The measure would also ban certain types of ammunition and allow courts to ban gun ownership by people deemed to pose a significant threat of violence.
FILE PHOTO: Flowers and other items have been left as memorials outside the Tree of Life synagogue following last Saturday’s shooting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 3, 2018. REUTERS/Alan Freed/File Photo
“As gun violence escalates across the country, it would be unconscionable for me to stand by and do nothing,” Councilman Corey O’Connor, one of the legislation’s authors, said in a statement. O’Connor represents Squirrel Hill, the neighborhood where the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue took place.
Assault-style weapons, with the capacity to fire multiple rounds in a short period of time, have played a significant role in the series of deadly mass shootings the United States has experienced in recent years.
Gun-rights advocates opposed the measures and threatened legal action if they passed.
The Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League and Firearm Owners Against Crime noted that a state law forbids local governments from enacting stricter gun laws than those in place statewide. The groups also said the proposal would violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Robert Bowers, 46, is accused of shooting and killing 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Oct. 27, using a legally purchased assault-style rifle and three handguns. He has pleaded not guilty.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and David Gregorio)