In an address to the American people on Monday, President Donald Trump pledged to offer the resources of the federal government to those affected by the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. He also spoke about combating racism, reforming mental health laws, and targeting violent video games.
Trump promised to help local authorities
“I have also been in close contact with Attorney General Barr and FBI Director Wray. Federal authorities are on the ground, and I have directed them to provide any and all assistance required. Whatever is needed.”
Later in his address, Trump said that he had asked the FBI “to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism. Whatever they need.”
He condemned white supremacy and racism
“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online, consumed in racist hate,” Trump said. “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
He also spoke about mental health…
Trump spoke about “identifying and acting on early warning signs” before shootings can take place. He said he was directing the Justice Department “to work in partnership with local state and federal agencies, as well as social media companies to detect mass shooters before they strike.”
He called for a reform of existing mental health laws “to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence, and make sure those people not only get treatment but when necessary involuntary confinement.” He did not offer a guideline for how it would be determined that someone’s mental health qualified them for “involuntary confinement” in order to prevent them from committing potential future crimes.
He continued “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 through rapid due process.”
“Rapid due process” is a change from Trump’s suggestion last year that the government should “take the firearms first, and then go to court….it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures — I like taking the guns early….take the guns first, go through due process second.”
Trump has already changed mental health laws surrounding gun ownership once — but in a way that made it easier for people to own guns. In 2017, he revoked an Obama-administration guideline that required the Social Security Administration to turn over the names of everyone who filed a mental health disability claim to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Both gun rights advocates and the ACLU had argued that this rule gave permission for the NICS to revoke gun ownership rights from people who did not in any way pose a threat to society.
…and violent video games
He also condemned the “glorification of violence in our society.” He spoke in particular about the “gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy 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.”
He did not elaborate on how he planned to curb or regulate the multi-billion dollar video game industry.
President Trump Delivers Remarks