By Nicholas Sakelaris
Aug. 6 (UPI) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg laid out a plan Tuesday to fight and prevent domestic terrorism, like the type that emerged in Texas and Ohio last weekend and killed more than 30 people.
Buttigieg’s plan provides more resources to law enforcement, tracks hate groups and reforms federal gun control.
A former Navy Reserve intelligence officer, Buttigieg proposes enforcing universal background checks for gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and establishing a nationwide gun licensing system.
He identified three major needs — fighting radicalization, stopping the spread of extremism online and making sure firearms don’t fall into the “wrong hands.”
“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,” Buttigieg wrote. “I want to be able to look back on this moment and tell my children that we brought people together to deliver gun safety. I want my children to be able to to the mall with their grandmother, or to school, or to the movies, without living in fear.”
“Enough,” he added.
Buttigieg’s plan would end the Senate filibuster, a procedural tactic that makes it more difficult for the minority party to block a bill.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor has criticized the Senate for taking its summer recess after the shooting attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio last weekend and Gilroy, Calif., the weekend before. More than 30 people died in all three attacks
“After foreign terrorist attacks, airport travelers have to take off their shoes,” Buttigieg said of changes made to the airline industry after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “After three mass shootings in a single week, Congress takes off for recess.”
Buttigieg joined the chorus of calls demanding federal lawmakers do something to change the culture of violence.
“They talk about change, but it remains easier to buy weapons of war than a bottle of beer,” he said. “They condemn the acts of lone individuals, but are too embarrassed or evasive to confront the hateful ideology that spurs so many to act — because an unrestrained gun lobby and racial division serves so many of their political interests.”
The plan proposes dedicating $1 billion to “prevent and combat radicalization and violent extremism” — and cited funding cuts by the Trump administration that had been allocated to the Homeland Security Department to fight white nationalism.
Democrats have called on Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, but the Kentucky Republican answered by saying there’s no rush to act. He added that he’s tapped three committee chairmen to find a political solution, but didn’t give a timeline for when the chamber might act.
Finesse McNichols, whose brother Thomas “T.J.” McNichols was killed in the shooting, is comforted by friends at a memorial near the scene of the crime. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo