Buttigieg Lays Out Plan for Gun Control After Mass Shootings

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg speaks to supporters during a rally in Las Vegas, N.V., on Friday. (Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

(CN) – As the nation reels in the aftermath of dual mass shootings just 13 hours apart, South Bend, Indiana, mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg announced a plan Tuesday to combat domestic terror and the influence of the gun lobby.

The proposal comes in response to back-to-back mass shootings at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio this past weekend that left 31 dead and dozens more injured. The suspect from the El Paso shooting is in custody, while the gunman suspected in the Dayton shooting died on the scene.

Buttigieg says his plan will take the political measures needed to stop “the rise of white nationalism and the pernicious influence of the NRA,” short for National Rifle Association.

The plan includes an array of policies intended to stem the tide of domestic terrorism perpetuated by gun violence.

Included is $1 billion dog-eared for combating radicalization and violent extremism, on top of reinvesting funding the mayor says the Trump administration cut from the Department of Homeland Security’s budget to combat white nationalism.

The billion-dollar investment would specifically be used to increase the FBI’s domestic counterterrorism field staff, revitalize the DHS Office of Targeted Violence and its task force for violent extremism, and allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study links between white supremacist groups and gun violence while restoring funding to the Global Terrorism Database.

Other policy points include universal background checks for gun buyers, closing loopholes allowing dangerous people to acquire and keep guns, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, supporting red-flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and establishing a nationwide gun licensing database.

Buttigieg’s policy proposal touches on his military experience in reference to the proposed ban on assault weapons.

“Weapons like the one I carried in Afghanistan have no place on our streets or in our schools- least of all in the hands of white nationalists,” he said.

His plan also seeks to contain the spread of violent extremism online by working with social media and other online platforms to identify extremist thought and hateful ideology, or “name and shame” platforms that refuse to take those steps.

The online platform 8chan, long a sounding board and recruiting space for violent white nationalist thought, was shut down after this weekend’s shootings. Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old suspected gunman in the El Paso shooting, posted to 8chan before the massacre and an anti-immigrant manifesto he is said to have written soon spread across the web.

Buttigieg’s plan encourages citizens to mobilize and pressure the U.S. Senate to immediately reconvene during its August recess and act on gun safety and hate, while pushing grassroots advocacy for common-sense gun laws.

The 2020 presidential hopeful’s proposal also makes a passing reference to the police shooting of a black man in the Indiana town where he is mayor. South Bend Sergeant Ryan O’Neill shot and killed Eric Jack Logan, a 54-year-old father of seven, while Logan was allegedly breaking into cars on June 16. O’Neill has since resigned.

“Every day one at a time, we continue to lose an average of 100 lives to gun violence — disproportionately in black and brown communities — all around the country, including in my hometown,” Buttigieg said.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 225 verified mass shootings in the U.S. in the first 218 days of the year. The group defines mass shootings as an incident in which four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter.

%d bloggers like this: