Trump Calls for Linking New Gun Control Legislation to Immigration Reform
The president offers the worst of both worlds.
The political reaction to violent tragedies is rarely good for individual liberty. President Donald Trump's response to the weekend's mass shootings in Texas and Ohio is no exception.
On Monday morning, Trump tweeted that he would be willing to support more restrictions on gun ownership—and suggested linking those restrictions to congressional action on immigration.
"We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain," wrote the president. "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!"
In a brief speech Monday morning, Trump repeated his openness to more gun control measures but avoided any mention of immigration.
"Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside," said Trump. His remarks called for more red flag laws, which allow police to confiscate weapons from law-abiding gun owners if they are deemed potential threats. The president also called on social media companies to develop tools to flag likely mass shooters, and he endorsed increased investments in mental health.
This is not the first time that Trump has floated the idea of more gun control regulations in the wake of mass shootings. His administration banned bump stocks following the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Trump isn't the only conservative voice calling for additional gun control measures either. The conservative New York Post editorial board called for a ban on "weapons of war" in a Monday front-page editorial.
"An assault weapons ban is aimed at the likes of the El Paso shooter, who coldly plotted how to kill as many as possible, as quickly as possible. Let's make that a lot tougher for the next monster," reads the Post's editorial, which makes a direct appeal to Trump to support a renewed assault weapons ban.
The Post said additional restrictions on specific firearms should be part of a larger gun control package that would include red flag laws and expanded background checks.
Trump's speech today largely conformed to the Post's policy prescriptions, although the president's remarks notably fell short of embracing a new "assault weapons" ban.
The Post's op-ed editor, the right-wing nationalist Sohrab Ahmari, went further on Twitter by specifically calling out libertarians for their opposition to expanded gun control.
"What about gangland killings in Chicago? The Founders, the Founders . . . ." the libertarian gun absolutist said as mass killers bathed two American cities in the blood of innocents in fewer than 24 hours.
— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) August 4, 2019
Democrats have renewed their calls for stepped-up gun control measures following the shootings over the weekend, but it seems doubtful that a majority would be willing to trade increased immigration restrictions to get them.
Zuri Davis contributed additional reporting to this article.