President Donald Trump said our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy following two mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso.
WASHINGTONÂ â€“ Two days after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Republicans are beginningÂ to put forth a path forward in response toÂ the tragedies.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday heÂ has encouraged relevant committee chairmen, such as Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen.Â Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., toÂ “engage in bipartisan discussions of potential solutions to help protect our communities without infringing on Americansâ€™ constitutional rights.”
The announcement comes after virtual silence from the Senate’s top Republican in the past two days.
President Donald Trump on Monday called forÂ “red flag” legislation to be passed, which wouldÂ allow law enforcement, family members and other concerned parties to petition a judge to confiscate guns from individuals who may cause harm to themselves or others.Â
The president alsoÂ condemned the shootings and the hateful ideologies that some believe motivated the El Paso shooting.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated,”Â Trump saidÂ Monday, addressing the nation. “Hate has no place in America.â€
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In hisÂ statement Monday, TrumpÂ also indicated that his administration’s response to the shootings would be focused more on mental health and cultural issuesÂ than on gun control.Â
â€œMental illness and hatred pulls the trigger,” Trump said. “Not the gun.â€
Graham said in a statement Monday that he will introduce bipartisan legislation that will encourage states to adoptÂ “red flag” laws through creation of a federal grant program.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida,Â on Monday afternoon said on Twitter he hopes his “red flag” legislation will be brought up in the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Graham.
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Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.,Â have called on McConnell to bring the Senate back early from the August recess in orderÂ to considerÂ legislation the HouseÂ passed earlier this year that would create stricter background checks.
Here is more of what some GOP lawmakers are saying as the nation debates the need for newÂ gun control laws:
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Sunday condemned the alleged El Paso shooter, who authorities sayÂ is linkedÂ to a “manifesto” he published before the shooting that containsÂ anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric. Authorities have also said they are investigating the El Paso shooting as a potential hate crime.
Cruz, whose father was Cuban immigrant, said in a tweet that he was “deeply horrified by the hateful anti-Hispanic bigotry expressed in the shooterâ€™s so-called â€˜manifesto.â€™”
“This ignorant racism is repulsive and profoundly anti-American,” he continued. “We must speak clearly to combat evil in any form it takes. What we saw yesterday was a heinous act of terrorism and white supremacy.”
Sen. Tim Scott, the only African American Republican senator, also said that white nationalism is a “stain on our national identity.” He added that the United States “must identify and root out this evilâ€”period.”
“White nationalism is domestic terrorism and has no place in America,” ScottÂ wrote in a tweet.Â “It is fundamentally against all that we have worked for, antithetical to the American creed, and is a stain on our national identity.”
Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana also called for action against white supremacy.
“I deployed to Afghanistan as a response to radical Islamic terrorism,” he wrote in a tweet. “We now face a different enemy that has also emerged from the shadows but demands the same focus and determination to root out and destroy.”
“#WhiteSupremacistTerrorism should be named, targeted and defeated,” he concluded.
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Some Republicans, including the president, were quick to point toÂ mental health issues as one of the driving forces of the mass shootings.
Although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif., did not directly connect the El Paso and Dayton shootings to violent video games, he did suggest that the images in video games can “dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals.”
“I’ve always felt that it’s a problem for future generations and others,” he said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “We’ve watched studies show what it does to individuals, and you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio,Â pointed to mental health concerns, saying “there’s something deeper going on here” and citing suicide rates and addiction rates.Â
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“Look at the mental health crisis in our country today, there aren’t enough laws and, in fact, no law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face today as a country and the shooting last night is an indication of that,” he said.
“So I look forward to working together with my colleagues to try to respond the most effective way possible,” he continued, “but we also have to look deep into our hearts and figure out how could someone point a gun at someone who he had never seen or known and pull the trigger?”
Contributing: Nicholas Wu,Â Elizabeth Lawrence,Â David Jackson, John Fritze, Michael Collins, Ledyard King
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