After 2 mass shootings, bipartisan support is growing for “Red Flag” laws

ST. LOUIS - After two mass shootings over the weekend left at least 31 people dead and more injured, lawmakers across the country, including the president, are calling for stronger gun laws.

President Donald Trump said Monday (Aug. 5) he supports Extreme Risk Laws.

"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 can be taken through rapid due process," said Trump.

These "red flag" laws aim to reduce gun violence by allowing police or family members to remove weapons from someone who may be a risk to themselves or others. Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham announced he is working with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut, on a bipartisan federal grant program to support these laws.

"We need to call it what it is... domestic terrorism... and we need to take action against it," said Blumenthal.

Seventeen states already have Extreme Risk Laws including Illinois. A similar bill introduced in the Missouri senate failed earlier this year.

Nearly 2,000 volunteers with Moms Demand Action were in Washington D.C. over the weekend for an annual conference. St. Louisan Kim Westerman said the group was heartbroken when news of the shooting in El Paso, Texas broke Saturday (Aug. 3).

"I think we were sad, but we were also angry," said Westerman. "About 400 people at the conference headed over to the White House, and then they marched to the capitol, and then to the Trump Hotel just as a vigil and a protest against gun violence and demanding action as our name states."

Westerman said the organization is pushing for bipartisan "Background Checks Bill" which was passed by the House earlier this year. The bill would close a loophole in which a convicted felon may skip a background check by purchasing a firearm from an unlicensed seller at gun shows or online.

Westerman said the organization is committed to finding common-sense gun-regulations, not just in the wake of another mass shooting, but to reduce the number of gun deaths in the U.S.

"We focus on these mass shootings because they're terrifying, but they make up less than one percent of gun deaths in our country," said Westerman. "In our very community here in St. Louis there are people who are affected by gun violence every day, who are afraid every day, and we need to take these moments when the spotlight is on gun violence and use that to elevate their voices and help them as well."

President Trump said he is also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring the death penalty for suspects who commit hate crimes and mass murders.

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