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In a 10-minute address at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence at his side, Trump condemned white supremacy and the Internet in the aftermath of the shootings, but also backed so-called “red flag laws,” which bar those deemed a risk to safety from owning firearms.
“We must make sure that those judged a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms,” Trump said. “And if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process.”
Trump said he also was directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty “and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively and without years of needless delay.”
Trump had begun the day on Twitter by endorsing stronger background checks, possibly linked to immigration reform. But he made no mention of that proposal in his White House remarks.
The House in February passed two bills aimed at strengthening the background check requirements to own guns. The first bill would bar most person-to-person firearm transfers unless a background check could be conducted. The bill aimed to eliminate what gun control advocates have called a loophole that enables people to buy firearms without a background check at gun shows or, say, as a private sale.
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That bill passed 240-190, with all Ohio Republicans opposing it and all Ohio Democrats supporting it. In all, eight House Republicans joined Democrats to back that bill.
The House also in February, by a 228-198 vote, passed a bill that would require firearm dealers to wait at least 10 days to receive a response from the background check system before going ahead with the sale. Currently, dealers can sell the firearm if they haven’t received a response within three days. All Ohio Republicans opposed the measure while all Ohio Democrats supported it.
Both bills await action in the Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejecting Democratic calls to put those measures on a vote.
On Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted a request for McConnell to cancel the Senate's summer recess and reconvene in an emergency session to pass those two measures.
In his first public remarks after the shootings, Trump did not mention either of those proposals but did vow to “act with urgent resolve.”
While it has not satisfied gun control advocates, Trump has taken some action during his administration to tighten access to guns.
After the Oct. 1, 2017 mass murder of 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas, Trump signed an executive order banning bump stocks, which effectively convert a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon.
While Trump did not mention background checks in his speech, he did call to reform mental health policies and stop the glorification of violence through video games in addition to backing “red flag” laws.
During his comments, Trump said he had spoken to both Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley as well as the mayor of El Paso and the governor of Texas.
“Hate has no place in America,” he said.
As he closed, he briefly stumbled over the name of the cities involved, saying, “may God bless the memory of those who died in Toledo,” he said.