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Blame bigotry, not mental health, for mass shootings, Murray says

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 6, 2019

People visit a makeshift memorial, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, at the site of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. (John Locher / AP)
People visit a makeshift memorial, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, at the site of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. (John Locher / AP)

Republicans who control the Senate should stop sending “thoughts and prayers” to victims of gun violence and allow a vote on gun reform legislation that has passed the House, Sen. Patty Murray said Monday after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend.

Murray, the state’s senior senator and the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, took issue with President Donald Trump and others who were putting the blame for the shootings on mental health. Don’t try blending bigotry, hatred and acts of violence with the serious issue of mental health, she said in an email.

“Instead of skirting the issues at play in our country, we should be focusing on addressing the violence that’s being perpetrated by people who are influenced by white supremacy and bigotry,” she said.

With Congress on recess and many members of the Northwest delegation traveling, other reaction to President Donald Trump’s statement on the El Paso and Dayton shootings was muted Monday.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers posted a statement on Twitter Sunday saying she was “anxious for more answers, and like so many Americans, I’m angry.”

But she said one fact about the shootings was clear: “Violence motivated by white nationalism is terrorism. It’s evil and has no place here.”

On Tuesday morning, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said Congress should consider some of Trump’s ideas after the weekend’s twin massacres. The Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Crapo sits, may take up the “Red Flag” bill which could result in the temporary removal of firearms by a court on the request of police or family members.

“We must give ourselves the best chance to stop these senseless acts and protect the lives – and constitutional rights – of innocent Americans,” Crapo, who was holding meetings in North Idaho, said in an email.

On the presidential campaign trail, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joined most other Democratic candidates by blasting Trump. The president should take responsibility for his actions, Inslee contended, because he “has given white nationalism a home in the White House while refusing to act on gun violence prevention.”

“Just today, when given a chance to condemn white nationalism, Donald Trump used the moment as an opportunity to call for immigration reform,” Inslee said in a news release. “Scapegoating immigrants for the actions of a white nationalist is unacceptable.”

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