US

NRA Supports Trump’s Message After Shootings in El Paso, Dayton

By Mimi Nguyen Ly

The National Rifle Association (NRA) late Aug. 5 expressed its support for President Donald Trump’s address in which he condemned violent video games and called for strong background checks on potential gun buyers as well as immigration reforms following recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

The NRA, which promotes legal gun rights and gun safety, along with other issues, said that it welcomes Trump’s focus on the “root causes” of violence.

“The NRA welcomes the President’s call to address the root causes of the horrific acts of violence that have occurred in our country,” it said in a statement. “It has been the NRA’s long-standing position that those who have been adjudicated as a danger to themselves or others should not have access to firearms and should be admitted for treatment.”

Two mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton occurred over the weekend within 13 hours of each other, leaving at least 31 dead and more wounded.

In El Paso, 20 people were killed and 26 wounded on Aug. 3 in a shopping center attack. Another two victims died of their wounds on Aug. 5, raising the death toll to 22.

In Dayton, nine people were killed—including the shooter’s own sister—and 27 more were wounded on Aug. 4. The shooter was shot dead by police and a motive was not immediately clear.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told reporters on Aug. 5 that Trump would visit the city on Aug. 7. Margo asked that the visit amid a divisive gun control debate not be politicized.

Trump responded to the attacks on early Aug. 5 in an address at the White House where he denounced racism, bigotry, and white supremacy, and partly directed blame toward violent video games, saying that the “glorification of violence” must stop.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence.”

“We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately. Cultural change is hard, but each of us can choose to build a culture that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every human life. That’s what we have to do,” he added.

Trump said on Aug. 5 that there would be action taken to try to prevent future shootings, saying that detecting early warning signs is important. He said he was directing the Department of Justice to work with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as social media companies “to detect mass shooters before they strike.”

He wrote on Twitter earlier that day, “We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded, 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.”

The House passed two bills earlier this year to strengthen background checks on those who seek to purchase firearms. One of the bills allows a review period of up to 10 days for background checks, while the other requires federal background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including those sold online and at gun shows. But the White House said it intends to veto the Democrat-led bills as they do not sufficiently protect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

The Trump administration in 2018 passed several measures to address gun violence and mass shootings. This include the Fix NICS Act, which strengthens the background checks for firearm purchases; and the STOP School Violence Act, which improves school security “by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and prevent acts of violence.”

Trump also signed a memorandum in February 2018 to direct the Justice Department to ban all bump stock devices and other devices that “turn legal weapons into machine guns.”

The NRA in an earlier statement expressed condolences to victims of the attacks on El Paso and Dayton.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims of these tragedies, as well as the entire communities of El Paso and Dayton. On behalf of our millions of members, we salute the courage of the first responders and others offering their services during this time,” the association said.

The group added that it did not want to participate in “politicizing” what happened.

“We will not participate in the politicizing of these tragedies but, as always, we will work in good faith to pursue real solutions that protect us all from people who commit these horrific acts.”

Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan, NTD reporter Zachary Stieber, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.