Following the attacks in El Paso and Dayton, US President Donald Trump has announced a legislative initiative calling for the death penalty for hate crimes and mass murder. He had ordered the Ministry of Justice to draft legislation, Trump said in a speech to the nation.
"These attacks hit us hard," Trump said. These are attacks on the nation and crimes against humanity. He and his wife were in thoughts with the relatives of the injured and killed. These should never be forgotten. Trump thanked the security forces for their decisive intervention.
On Saturday, a 21-year-old white man in the Texas city of El Paso shot and killed 20 people in a mall, seven of whom were Mexican nationals. The alleged perpetrator was arrested. Only 13 hours after the first attack, a 24-year-old shot dead nine people in Dayton, Ohio, on the night of Sunday before being killed by police officers.
Trump said the perpetrator of El Paso published a racist manifesto. "We have to condemn racism and intolerance," said Trump. Hatred has no place in the US, it is bad for the soul.
After the attacks, the opposition accused Trump of using his rhetoric to create a climate of hatred. This climate favors racist attacks. In addition, the Democrats criticized the president for not agreeing to restrict the sale of firearms to private individuals. In recent weeks, Trump has openly racially insulted Democratic MPs, formerly calling Mexicans a "rapist".
Even before his speech Trump had offered the Democrats to change the gun laws if they agreed to a stricter immigration law. Specifically, Trump spoke of a tough background check for gun buyers. However, he had already promised such a change of law after the killing spree in a school in Parkland in Florida in February 2018, but so far nothing came of it.
The House of Representatives, in which the Democrats have the majority, has passed a weapons control law, which also provided Trump more specific background checks at the federal level - beyond the individual US state - are provided. In the Senate controlled by Trump's Republicans, however, the law has not progressed.