WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump on Monday suggested tying enhanced background checks on gun purchases to immigration reform after two mass shootings within 13 hours shocked the country over the weekend.
“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning.
“We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!” said the president.
On Saturday, a 21-year-old white male opened fire at throngs of shoppers in a Walmart, killing at least 20 and injuring 26 others in the border city of El Paso, Texas.
The suspect, identified as Patrick Crusius and already taken into custody, is believed to have acted on anti-immigrant sentiment.
Early on Sunday morning, in Dayton, Ohio, another gunman wearing a mask opened fire in a bar district, killing nine people and injuring 27 others.
The suspect, who was killed at the scene less than a minute after he began the shooting spree, was later identified as Connor Betts, a 24-year-old white male.
The latest episodes showed a growing trend of gun violence in the country, which is deadlocked on whether to place more stringent measures on gun ownership.
Many point their fingers at the White House as they look for answers to the repeated violence, alleging controversial remarks made by the country’s top leader have spurred hateful actions across the United States.
In the wake of the shootings, Democrats renewed calls for the Republican-majority Senate to take up the universal background check bill that the Democrat-controlled House passed earlier this year.
Republican lawmakers argued that enhanced background checks and a ban on assault-style weapons would not stop most mass shootings.
It is unclear what “immigration reform” Trump is suggesting be tied to gun control legislation.