The president has yet to follow through on his previous promise to take “strong measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous” people.
Donald Trump delivered a rare press conference on Wednesday and sent a 42-second message of condolences to those impacted by a mass shooting in Milwaukee this week that left five people dead.
Despite previously promising major action to combat gun violence, Trump did not offer any solutions to address the problem Wednesday evening.
“I’d like to extend my deepest condolences to the victims and families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” Trump told reporters, calling the shooter a “wicked murderer.”
“Our hearts break for [the victims] and their loved ones,” he continued. “We send our condolences. We’ll be with them. And it’s a terrible thing, terrible thing. So our hearts go out to the people of Wisconsin and to the families.”
He then moved on, addressing his administration’s public health response to the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Trump was referencing the nation’s 45th mass shooting of 2020. Earlier on Wednesday, a 51-year-old former employee at the Molson Coors brewery opened fire on his colleagues, killing five before fatally shooting himself. Early reports did not specify whether any others were wounded in the attack.
Trump’s brief comments this week stand in contrast to his prior promises to work to stop the gun violence epidemic plaguing the country.
Last August, following a series of deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Trump called for legislative action to ensure those victims did not “die in vain.”
“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process,” Trump said at the time. “That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”
“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks,” he tweeted separately.
Days later Trump claimed to have spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about the issue. “He is totally on board,” he said.
That has not happened.
Instead, Trump has taken a fiercely pro-gun stance, bragging later during Wednesday’s press conference that his re-election was due likely in part to his efforts to “[protect] our Second Amendment” and claiming Democrats wanted to “destroy” it.
“When people look at that, they say, ‘This is not good,'” he said.
Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, a gun violence prevention group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), tweeted on Thursday that the day marks the one-year anniversary of the House of Representatives passing a bipartisan bill to require universal background checks.
McConnell (R-KY) has blocked this and hundreds of other bills from even coming up for a vote in the Senate, dismissing them as a bunch of “left-wing solutions that are going to be issues in the fall campaign.”
“Too many people have died since,” the Giffords tweet said. “Do your job, Mitch—or find a new one.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 6,155 people have lost their lives to gun violence in the United States so far this year, including homicides, murders, suicides, unintentional firings, and defensive gun uses. Another 4,059 gun-related injuries have been reported over that time.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.