President Trump on Monday called on lawmakers to combine gun control measures with immigration reform.
“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” said Trump.
The proposal follows back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left 29 people dead and 53 injured. Some Democrats claim the shooters were motivated by Trump’s white nationalist rhetoric.
Trump condemned racism and white supremacy during a speech delivered later on Monday, but failed to unveil any major policy proposals.
He called for an end to the “glorification of violence” in video games and said that individuals who commit mass shootings should face the death penalty. He also suggested that an overhaul of mental health laws could help us “better identify mentally disturbed individuals.”
If Trump was really serious about gun control, complained Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), he would ask Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) to hold a vote on House-approved legislation to expand background checks.
Trump called for stronger background checks in 2018 after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, but backed down after a meeting with the NRA. This year, he threatened to veto two bills on gun control passed by the House – one that calls for universal background checks and one that extends the review period of background checks from 3 to 10 days.
In 2017, he repealed a regulation that blocked firearm sales to individuals who receive disability benefits for mental health issues.
Gun control is an issue that has long been near and dear to Democrats’ hearts, and Trump’s suggestion to combine it with immigration reform is his latest attempt to coerce lawmakers into correcting the situation at the southern border.
Trump also knows that any combination of the two issues will be voted down by Democrats and he can point to that failure during his re-election campaign.
Unfortunately, immigration reform and gun control are both explosive topics with virtually no bipartisan consensus in Congress and it seems Trump’s advisers talked him out of repeating the suggestion to combine the two issues during his Monday speech.
Republicans have long opposed gun control – not because they don’t care about safety, but out of respect for the 2nd Amendment. If the government can deny firearms to anyone, the 2nd Amendment is in danger.