WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As the nation grappled with the past weekend’s horrific shootings, President Donald Trump weighed in and called for action on Monday.
After gunmen in Texas and Ohio ambushed crowds, killing at least 30 people and injuring dozens more, the president urged Congress to pass bills that would strengthen background checks and keep guns away from those with mental illnesses.
He also blamed video games and the internet for inciting violence.
“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger,” President Trump said. “Not the gun.”
But back in Dayton, Ohio, frustrated Democrats called the president’s talk cheap.
“They’re killing American citizens,” said Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who is also running for president in 2020.
Ryan and fellow Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown say that if the president wants gun reform, only one man stands in the way: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I’ve called on Sen. McConnell to bring the Senate back into session. We can pass that in one afternoon — background checks,” Brown said.
Republicans including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman say they’re open to reforms, but don’t want Congress to rush drastic bills.
“No law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face today,” Portman said.
In a statement, Portman said “the president was right to speak out forcefully against hate, bigotry and the white supremacist ideology. I agree with him that there is more we can to do try and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and both parties should work together towards this goal. I voted for two bills Congress enacted to help address gun violence last year. I also support so-called red flag laws to get guns out of the hands of those who pose a danger to others, while ensuring there is due process for all involved. I will continue to support common-sense reforms to our gun laws that don’t infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Kris Brown with the Brady Campaign, which is a national gun control group, disagrees. She pointed out that the 22-year-old shooter in Dayton bought his gun legally.
“We’re the only industrialized country on earth that allows a person to walk in a store and walk out with weapons designed for the military battlefield,” she said.
The president is scheduled to visit Dayton later this week.
Congress remains on recess until September.