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Pingree Statement on Mass Shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio

Maine, August 4, 2019

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today released the following statement regarding two mass within the past 24 hours:

“I’m devastated and angry about the horrific gun slaughter of at least 29 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio within the past 24 hours. The House has passed common sense legislation to address gun violence but the Senate refuses to act. This is absolutely unacceptable. My heart is broken for the victims of the gun violence in El Paso and Dayton. These murderers have robbed dozens of their lives—and all Americans of the safety we should feel while going about our daily routines.

“I was waiting for all of the facts to unfold before commenting on what happened in Texas yesterday, but it’s clear that this killer was radicalized to commit an act of domestic terrorism. It’s outrageous that President Trump has disbanded the Department of Homeland Security’s domestic terror intelligence unit as acts of hate continue to plague our communities. Last week numerous people were killed while attending a garlic festival in Gilroy, California by a man holding similar extreme and hateful beliefs as the El Paso murderer. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked to restore funds to counter domestic extremism.”

BACKGROUND:

Earlier this year, the U.S. House passed H.R. 8, universal the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would expand the current federal background check system to cover nearly all firearm sales. The U.S. House also passed H.R. 1112, a bill to close the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allowed Dylann Roof to purchase the firearm he used to kill nine African Americans before the FBI could finish its background check. Pingree voted for both bills.

It has been widely reported that the Trump administration has disbanded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) domestic terror intelligence unit. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Pingree worked to include language in the FY2020 spending bill to:

  • require the Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention broaden its scope to counter domestic extremism and provide a report back to the Committee
  • invest $5 million to support Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes funding
  • direct the FBI to update a 2008 report on White Supremacy Recruitment since 9/11 and provide data about the use of electronic media in the commission of hate crimes.

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