Thứ năm, 08 22nd

Last updateThứ 5, 22 08 2019 12am

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Trump: Strengthen Background Checks for Gun Buyers

WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump called Monday for stronger background checks on gun buyers in the immediate aftermath of horrific mayhem in which gunmen killed 29 people in two incidents that occurred in a 13-hour period.

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President Donald Trump speaks about the shootings in El Paso and Dayton as Vice President Mike Pence looks on in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 5, 2019.

Trump often has suggested the need for more mental health programs for troubled individuals who threaten gun violence. But on Twitter, ahead of a White House address on the weekend carnage, he appeared willing to embrace demands from political opponents that anyone purchasing a weapon be required to undergo a thorough background check.

FILE - Handguns are displayed at the Smith & Wesson booth at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 19, 2016.

"We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded," Trump tweeted. "We can never forget them, and those many who came before them. Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!" 

Congress for years has been unable to reach agreement on immigration reforms, which Trump has pushed to thwart migrants, mostly from Central America, from crossing the southern U.S. border with Mexico. Lawmakers only sporadically have enacted gun policy changes in the face of opposition from gun advocates who draw their authority from the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees Americans the right to own a weapon.

Background check legislation approved months ago by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has stalled in the Senate amid opposition from Republican colleagues of Trump. But it was not immediately clear what type of background checks Trump favors.

FILE - Members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, along with student activists, demonstrate against gun violence outside the White House, Aug. 3, 2019, after the El Paso, Texas Walmart deadly shooting in Washington.

The U.S. once banned the sale of assault-type weapons like those employed by the gunmen in the El Paso and Dayton incidents, but the law was allowed to lapse in 2004. Trump did not mention any possible new restrictions on their sale in his tweets.

Authorities say that in the U.S.-Mexican border city of El Paso, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart store, killing at least 20 people and wounding 26. They are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime and seeking to confirm that the suspect, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, who has been jailed, was the author of an online posting predicting a shooting spree intended to target Hispanics. The man lived in the Dallas area, hundreds of kilometers away from El Paso.

Flowers adorn a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 4, 2019.

Authorities in Ohio are also searching for a motive behind the rampage in Dayton early Sunday unleashed by the gunman who killed nine, including his sister, and wounded 27 in a nightlife district. Police identified the gunman as Connor Betts, a 24-year-old community college student, and said he was wearing body armor and carrying extra magazines of ammunition.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Beihl said officers were patrolling the crowded Oregon district packed with  bars, restaurants and theaters when the shooting started.  Police said they shot and killed Betts within 30 seconds of spotting him as he fired a  223-caliber semi-automatic rifle, the same-sized weapon a gunman employed in one of the most horrific mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years — the 2012 massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

Mayor Nan Whaley said the quick response by police "saved literally hundreds of lives."

Mourners attend a vigil at the scene after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 4, 2019

Trump's Democratic opponents, including several seeking their party's nomination to run against him in the 2020 election, blamed his oft-repeated anti-immigration rhetoric as fostering the hate that contributed to the El Paso mass killing.

The U.S. leader, however, blamed a favorite target, the mainstream news media.

"The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country," Trump tweeted. "Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!"

Trump on Sunday ordered flags at all government buildings to be flown at half-staff through Thursday, "as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible acts of violence" in El Paso and Dayton.

Officials say they will seek the death penalty for the Texas attack, which they are treating as an act of domestic terrorism.

"Hate has no place in our country," Trump said Sunday, telling reporters "a lot of things are being done" to stop future attacks.

He called the killings a mental health issue and said he planned to make a more extensive statement about the killings Monday morning.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador said six Mexican citizens were among those killed in El Paso. Mexicans near the border town frequently cross into El Paso to shop at Walmart.

 He called on the U.S. to stop confronting social problems "with the use of force and by inciting hate."  Trump has called Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "criminals."

Angelica Sala, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights said, "Even when Donald Trump is out of office, the white nationalism he has unleashed will likely persist and require action to stop it."

But acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney rejected any attempt to blame Trump.

"I blame the people who are sick," Mulvaney told NBC's "Meet the Press" show Sunday morning. "People are going to hear what they want to hear," he said but added, "This was a political motive by a crazy person."

The El Paso and Dayton incidents are the nation's 21st and 22nd mass killing incidents this year, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University. The archive defines a mass killing as four or more people shot dead at a single location.

The latest shootings came a week after a gunman killed three at a food festival in California.  

Walmart said Sunday it will continue to sell guns and ammunition in its stores, despite the El Paso shooting and another deadly shooting just days earlier at one of its stores in Mississippi that ended with two workers killed and a police officer wounded.

Source: https://www.voanews.com/usa/trump-strengthen-background-checks-gun-buyers

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