Huge calls for US to ban assault weapons in wake of El Paso and Ohio massacres as America hits 251 mass shootings in just 216 days

Huge calls for US to ban assault weapons in wake of El Paso and Ohio massacres as America hits 251 mass shootings in just 216 days


DONALD Trump is facing intense pressure to ban assault weapons in the wake of the massacres in El Paso and Ohio as the number of mass shootings in the country hits 251 this year.

Pressure on the US President, 73, mounted after at least 29 people were killed in two mass shootings.

Donald Trump stopped short of calling for gun control in a White House speech today
Reuters

Gunman Patrick Crusius used an AK47-type weapon to gun down parents and kids in a packed Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday in what cops are now treating as an act of domestic terrorism.

Then just hours later Connor Betts, 24, killed nine people after going on the rampage in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday morning.

That brings the number of mass shootings in the US so far to 251 in just 219 days, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The Archive defines a mass shooting as when four or more people are killed, not including the shooter.

According to the data, more than 520 people have died and at least 2,000 have been injured.

A number of Democrats have heaped pressure on Mr Trump to get to grips with gun control, which is a highly controversial issue in the US.

Beto O’Rourke, who comes from El Paso, called for a ban on military-style weapons.

He said: “Keep that s**t on the battlefield. Do not bring it into our communities.”

EPA

Gunman Connor Betts, 24, was filmed chasing the terrified revellers into a bar while spraying bullets from a modified automatic weapon[/caption]

EPA

Connor Betts, 24, was named as the Dayton gunman. He killed nine people including his own sister and her boyfriend[/caption]

White supremacist Patrick Crusius posted a racist manifesto online before slaughtering people in cold blood in El Paso
Rex Features

Joe Biden echoed that call, saying: “Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines don’t belong on our streets.

“We must stand up to the NRA and gun manufacturers – they don’t own this country. We the people own this country.”

Senator Bernie Saunders stated there were more assault weapons on the streets than in the hands of the US military.

He said: “That is insane. We must ban the sale, distribution and transfer of assault weapons in the United States.”

The New York Post also ran a front-page editorial with the headline: “Ban Weapons of War”.

However, while Mr Trump condemned white supremacy and “racist hate” in a White House speech he stopped short of supporting broad gun control measures.

Instead he called for stronger measures to tackle mental health issues, violence in the media and video games as well as “the perils of the internet and social media.”

In a speech in 2018 Mr Trump told members of the gun lobby the NRA: “Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your President.”


WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

  • Police in Ohio named the Dayton shooter as Connor Betts and confirmed he killed his own sister, 22-year-old Megan Betts
  • Cops confirmed he had been killed at the scene
  • Betts wrote a ‘hit list’ of people he wanted to kill or torture when he was in high school
  • Texas suspect Patrick Crusius, 21, allegedly stormed a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, armed with an AK47-type rifle
  • At least 20 people were killed while 26 were rushed to hospital – including a four-month-old baby
  • In a manifesto, Crusius allegedly wrote about a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and said he would “probably die today”
  • US Attorney John Bash said the shooting in El Paso will be treated as a domestic terrorism case
  • Prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against Crusius

The issue of gun control is highly divisive in the country with many seeing the ability to carry weapons as a fundamental right, enshrined in the constitution.

The NRA, offered its “deepest sympathies” to the families of those who died in the recent shooting but said it was still “committed to the safe and lawful use of firearms,” adding it would “not participate in the politicising of these tragedies”.

When Bill Clinton was president he passed an assault weapons ban in 1994 but this expired in 2004 and was not renewed by Congress.

Senators voted on the issue of reintroducing the ban in 2103 in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting but it failed by 60 votes to 40.

The weekend violence follows two other high profile mass shootings earlier this year.

What are gun laws in the US?

The vast majority of US citizens are allowed to buy and keep firearms without restriction. Non-citizens are allowed if they have a permit.

Campaign groups jealously guard the rights granted under the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Federal law sets the minimum standards for firearm regulation in the United States. Licensed gun sellers must carry out background checks on every buyer against an FBI database.

Convicted felons, illegal immigrants and those with serious mental health problems are not meant to be allowed to purchase firearms.

Individual states also have their own laws, such as on what kinds of weapon are allowed to be owned or carried in public.

The USA has less than five per cent of the world’s population, but up to half of the world’s civilian-owned guns.

It also has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among the world’s most developed nations.


A gunman opened fire  in a building that houses Virginia Beach government offices on May 31, killing 12 people before he was shot and killed by police.

An employee at a manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, opened fire during a disciplinary meeting where he was dismissed.

Five people died at the Chicago plant before he was killed during a shootout with police.

Texan Beto O’Rourke called for a ban on military-style weapons
AP:Associated Press
Bernie Sanders also called for a ban on assault weapons
Getty Images – Getty
Joe Biden said assault weapons did not belong on the street of the USA
Getty Images – Getty

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