It’s good to hear Republicans finally acknowledge the danger from white supremacy. But focusing on that motive alone is another way to talk around the main cause of mass shootings – easy access to powerful weapons.
Let’s review the mayhem of the last two weeks:
Now, some other recent mass murders:
Notice a pattern?
Hatred of minorities is one motive. Others include hatred of family members, workplace anger or a sick wish to be infamous.
Every shooter, though, armed himself for battle with a weapon of war. The man who killed 12 people in Virginia Beach this year used pistols, not rifles, but he had high-capacity magazines and used a silencer.
Our epidemic of mass shootings is embarrassing the United States. Congress compounds that embarrassment by refusing to take any meaningful action.
Like President Donald Trump, legislative leaders in Tallahassee, Florida, are expressing concern about “white nationalism.”
“This weekend was a tipping point for me,” said Sen. Rob Bradley, who chairs the appropriations committee. “When these events start to stack on each other, from California, to New Zealand, to Charleston, to El Paso, it becomes clear that an ideology is motivating these mentally deranged individuals.”
Bradley, however, wrongly associates mental illness with hatred. He also stresses motive over weaponry.
To his credit, Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, wants “to review and better understand the various factors involved in mass shootings.”
Galvano has asked Sen. Tom Lee, R-Tampa, to lead the examination. Lee chairs the Senate committee that deals with security and is a former Senate president.
We hope Lee’s committee takes a hard look at the ease with which people can obtain weapons of war, the common denominator in all these shootings.
Congress also should ban high-capacity magazines and expand background checks to all gun sales. That would do much more than simply talking about white supremacy.
The mayors of El Paso and Dayton joined about 200 of their counterparts Thursday in calling for the Senate to pass background check expansion bills that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t bring up for a vote. Congress should start there – and keep going.