Lawmakers react to shootings, as POTUS calls for bipartisan change


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – President Trump delivered a somber speech from the White House Monday following two shooting rampages in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The scourge left more than 30 people killed and dozens injured.

The 12-hour span of violence has prompted lawmakers around the county to speak out on proactive solutions, rather than reactive sentiments of grief.

RELATED: Trump vows urgent action after shootings, offers few details

Trump offered up solutions his administration will pursue to combat the problem:

  • better identify the warning signs of mass shootings/act before tragedies happen
  • cultural change, stop glorifying violence in platforms such as video games
  • mental health reform, pave the way toward better treatment
  • instruct Department of Justice to make hate crimes punishable by death penalty

“I am open and ready to listen and discuss all ideas that will actually work and make a very big difference. Republicans and Democrats have proven that we can join together in a bipartisan fashion to address this plague,” the President said.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-District 3) sent a statement Monday that read:

“I grieve alongside the communities affected by the unconscionable acts of violence this past weekend. There is no place in our society for white nationalism and we must act as one to root out this evil.
In Congress, I have supported the Fix NICS Act, to address flaws in our existing background check system. The rights of law-abiding citizens should not be infringed upon or curtailed because of failures to enforce existing laws. While protecting the Second Amendment rights of Americans, we must come together to address issues of access to mental health resources and a toxic culture of violence in our society. When each party goes to their respective ideological corners, we fail to mend the divisions and prevent tragedy. I am ready and willing to have productive conversations regarding mental illness disorders and overcome these challenges as a nation.”

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-District 2) wrote:

“The senseless mass killings in El Paso and Dayton are tragic and inexcusable. As the president said, hate has no place in our country, and I want to, once again, clearly and unequivocally condemn white supremacy in all forms. The issue of mass violence that our nation faces must be addressed, but we must also be unwavering in defense of our Constitutional rights, as fear has usurped more freedom than any tyrant ever has. We need to empower family members and law enforcement to act on the early warning signs that often present themselves well in advance of such senseless tragedies. I stand ready to work with my House colleagues to address this issue.”

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also released a statement Monday:

“The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton were horrific tragedies perpetrated by evil individuals, and I condemn all forms of hate and hateful acts of any kind. The actions of law enforcement officers and first responders in stopping both shooters saved lives and allowed the wounded to get immediate care.
“We will work with the President to continue addressing this issue in a comprehensive manner by giving law enforcement the tools they need to reduce gun violence, while also respecting the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens. The issue of mental health will also require further examination. We should look into how to expand providing proper treatment and facilities for the severely mentally ill. Last year, Congress passed the Fix NICS Act, which banned the use of bump stocks and strengthened reporting requirements for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the Department of Justice. There is much more work to be done.
“My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the victims and those injured.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement Monday, it read:

“In February, the new Democratic House Majority promptly did its duty and passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which is supported by more than 90 percent of the American people and proven to save lives.

“However, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has called himself the ‘grim reaper’ and refuses to act on this bipartisan legislation. It is incumbent upon the Senate to come back into session to pass this legislation immediately.

“It took less than three hours for the President to back off his call for stronger background check legislation. When he can’t talk about guns when he talks about gun violence, it shows the President remains prisoner to the gun lobby and the NRA.

“The public must weigh in and demand passage of this legislation for the safety of our children.”

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