The Justice Department has taken action to turn President Donald Trump’s alternative to gun control into law.
The department has drafted legislation to expeditefor those convicted of perpetrating mass shootings, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff told reporters Monday. According to Short, Pence’s policy team is working with Attorney General William Barr on the measure.
Trump proposed speeding up the execution of mass shooters last month following mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Heto propose such legislation, so that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders would face the death penalty “quickly” and “decisively,” “without years of delay.”
On Saturday, Seth Ator carried out a shooting rampage in West Texas that left seven people dead and 22 injured. He was shot dead by police.
The White House is expected to include the Justice Department’s draft legislation in a package of gun safety proposals to be presented to Congress. But Trump has been dismissive of the efficacy of gun control, even as Democrats and activists have argued it is urgently needed.
“Over the last five, six, or seven years, no matter how strong you need the background checks, it wouldn’t have stopped any of it,” he told reporters Sunday.
Texas governor Greg Abbott made a similar argument his own Sunday press conference, defending a loosening of his state’s gun laws that went into effect the same day.
“Some of these laws were enacted to make our communities safer,” he said, pointing to one law, Texas House Bill 1387, which will allow schools to hire more armed security guards.
On Monday, Abbott revealed that Ator had a criminal history and had previously failed a gun purchase background check in Texas. But he did undergo a background check for the gun he used in the shooting.
The Trump administration is ready to execute mass shooters and others
Trump’s Justice Department has already shown it means business when it comes to the death penalty. In July, Barr announced that the federal government would be resuming capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse. He instructed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to change the federal execution protocol, paving the way for five death-row inmates convicted of murdering children to be put to death.
“The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” Barr said when announcing the shift in policy.
Before Barr directed the change, federal executions had been at a near standstill for decades due to concerns over racial fairness.