ALL NEWS

Pres. Trump says he wants stronger gun checks but gives little details

Aug 5, 2019, 8:52 AM | Updated: 11:59 am
mass shooting mental illness el paso dayton...
President Donald Trump speaks about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Monday condemned weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio as “barbaric” attacks and crimes “against all humanity” as he called for bipartisan cooperation to strengthen the nation’s gun laws.

Mr. Trump said he wants legislation providing “strong background checks” for gun users, but he provided scant details and has reneged on previous promises after mass shootings.

“We vow to act with urgent resolve,” the president said Monday.

Mr. Trump spoke Monday from the White House about shootings that left 29 dead and dozens wounded. He suggested early on Twitter that a background check bill could be paired with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system.

But he didn’t say how or why he was connecting the issues. Both shooting suspects were U.S. citizens, and federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive for the El Paso, Texas, massacre.

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” he said, adding that he had directed the FBI to examine steps to identify and address domestic terrorism. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America,” he said.

The president has frequently sought to tie his immigration priorities — a border wall and transforming the legal immigration system to one that prioritizes merit over familial ties — to legislation around which he perceives momentum to be building.

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump tried to assure Americans he was dealing with the problem and defended his administration in light of criticism following the latest in a string of mass shootings.

“We have done much more than most administrations,” he said, without elaboration. “We have done actually a lot. But perhaps more has to be done.”

Congress has proven unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation this session, despite the frequency of mass shootings, in large part because of resistance from Republicans, particularly in the GOP-controlled Senate. That political dynamic seems difficult to change.

And the president himself has reneged on previous pledges to strengthen gun laws.

After other mass shootings, he called for strengthening the federal background check system, and in 2018 he signed legislation to increase federal agency data sharing into the system. But he has resisted Democratic calls to toughen other gun control laws.

In February, the House approved bipartisan legislation to require federal background checks for all gun sales and transfers and approved legislation to allow a review period of up to 10 days for background checks on firearms purchases. The White House threatened a presidential veto if those measures passed Congress.

At a February meeting with survivors and family members of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting in which 17 people died, Mr. Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks.”

The president claimed he would stand up to the gun lobby and finally get results in quelling gun violence. But he later retreated, expressing support for modest changes to the federal background check system and for arming teachers.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that if Mr. Trump is serious about strengthening background checks, he should demand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “put the bipartisan, House-passed universal background checks bill up for a vote.”

In the El Paso attack, investigators are focusing on whether it was a hate crime after the emergence of a racist, anti-immigrant screed that was posted online shortly beforehand. Detectives sought to determine if it was written by the man who was arrested. The border city has figured prominently in the immigration debate and is home to 680,000 people, most of them Latino.

On Twitter Monday, the president seemed to deflect from scrutiny over the manifesto, which had language mirroring some of his own. As Democrats have called on him to tone down his rhetoric, Mr. Trump blamed the news media for the nation’s woes.

“Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years,” he claimed

As the president weighs trips to the affected communities — the Federal Aviation Administration advised pilots of a presidential visit Wednesday to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio — local lawmakers signaled opposition to his presence.

Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat who represents El Paso, said Mr. Trump is “not welcome” to visit the city.

In recent weeks, the president has issued racist tweets about four women of color who serve in Congress, and in rallies has spoken of an “invasion” at the southern border. His reelection strategy has placed racial animus at the forefront in an effort that his aides say is designed to activate his base of conservative voters, an approach not seen by an American president in the modern era.

Mr. Trump also has been widely criticized for offering a false equivalency when discussing racial violence, notably when he said there were “very fine people, on both sides,” after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the death of an anti-racism demonstrator.

On gun control, a majority of Americans have consistently said they support stronger laws, but proposals have stalled repeatedly in Congress, a marked contrast to some countries that have acted swiftly after a mass shooting.

In March, a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found a majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws. The survey was conducted both before and after a mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand. It found that 67 percent of Americans support making US gun laws stricter, while 22 percent say they should be left as they are and 10 percent think they should be made less strict.

Less than a week after the mosque shootings, New Zealand moved to ban “military-style” semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines; similarly, after a mass shooting in 1996, Australia enacted sweeping gun bans within two weeks.

The poll suggested many Americans would support similar measures, but there’s a wide gulf between Democrats and Republicans on banning specific types of guns. Overall, 6 in 10 Americans support a ban on AR-15 rifles and similar semiautomatic weapons. Roughly 8 in 10 Democrats, but just about 4 in 10 Republicans, support that policy.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

An Orem school, Orem High School is pictured. alpine school district split debate...
Becky Bruce and Jessica Lowell

Orem, Alpine School District split debate centers on whose math you believe

The Utah Taxpayers Association supports the break-up of the Alpine district, in part because it finds problems with the data used by the Stronger Together Coalition, which opposes the split. 
18 hours ago
Provo Police car pictured, they are investigating a crash on state street...
Samantha Herrera

Deadly day for Utah roads, two killed in separate crashes on State Street

A motorcyclist was killed in a Provo crash on State Street this morning while a motorist died in a crash in Pleasant Grove only hours later.
18 hours ago
Colorado river is pictured, its water supplies Utah but it is running out...
Adam Small

Utah leaders ask businesses to contribute to water conservation amid Colorado River shortage

The Colorado River supplies water to Utah, but due to its shortage businesses are being asked to do their part for water conservation.
18 hours ago
pedestrian ogden freeway fatal...
Simone Seikaly

Pedestrian killed on NB I-15 in Ogden, another in critical condition

The Utah Highway Patrol said two people were on the left shoulder of the freeway just prior to 24th Street when they were hit.
18 hours ago
Twitter might get bought by Elon Musk after all. Twitter screen shown on phone...
TOM KRISHER, MATT O'BRIEN and RANDALL CHASE Associated Press

Musk offers to end legal fight, pay $44B to buy Twitter

The offer comes just two weeks before the Twitter lawsuit seeking to force Musk to go through with the deal goes to trial in Delaware Chancery Court.
18 hours ago
FILE - Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News...
Elizabeth Weiler

Hotel brings honey to the beehive state

Hilton Salt Lake City Center has placed several beehives on their rooftop in sustainability efforts and ecosystem strengthening. 
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Pres. Trump says he wants stronger gun checks but gives little details