After the weekend’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton, President Trump addressed the nation this morning. In response to calls from both Democrats and Republicans to do something (as well as being blamed directly by some for the shootings), he said that . . .
Our nation is overcome with shock, horror and sorrow.
He called the shootings an attack on our nation and a crime against humanity. Trump then vowed “to act with urgent resolve.”
The President said that he’s been in contact with the Attorney General and the FBI director and condemned racism, bigotry and white supremacy. He noted that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize individuals. “The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored and will not be ignored.”
He said “We must seek real, bipartisan solutions…we must do a better job of acting on early warning signs.”
He then said that we must . . .
- Work with social media companies to detect mass shooters before they strike.
- Stop the glorification of violence, including gruesome video games. Cultural change is hard, he said.
- We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals to give people treatment and, when necessary, involuntary confinement.
- Enact red flag laws with due process.
- Use the death penalty for those convicted of mass murder.
In closing he noted that his administration has enacted Fix NICS legislation and outlawed bump stocks. Despite earlier tweets that appeared to indicate support for “stronger background checks,” he didn’t mention so-called universal background checks. That may be due to the fact that virtually every mass shooter in history has purchased the gun(s) used legally.
The big news here for gun owners is the President’s support for a so-called red flag laws or gun violence restraining orders. These laws allow firearms to be taken from individuals who are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The problem with these laws is that they rarely provide due process protections for the targets of the orders. Depending on the language, family, friends or even co-workers can ask for confiscation and the gun owner frequently isn’t informed until they get a knock on their door from police.
It’s only after the fact that they can argue for the return of their firearms in a subsequent hearing. The devil is in the details as to how these laws have been written in various states around the country.
Trump didn’t specifically propose a national red flag law, only his support for the laws in general. Whether that means he’d support a federal level red flag law isn’t clear.
Also don’t look for Trump to get any credit for his support for a red flag law from, well, anyone. Democrats and the civilian disarmament industry are probably already tweeting their outrage that he didn’t call for other steps such as universal background checks, a new federal “assault weapons” ban, or his failure to call for Congress to reconvene to consider gun control bills that have already been introduced.