The Justice Department has drafted legislation to expedite the death penalty for individuals found guilty of carrying out mass shootings, according to Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, who spoke with reporters on Air Force Two on Monday.
Short said the vice president’s policy team is working with Attorney General William Barr on the measure, which is expected to be included in the White House package of gun safety proposals to be presented to Congress.
The second mass shooting in Texas in a month took place over the weekend in West Texas, killing seven people and injuring over a dozen more.
President Trump raised the idea of expediting the death penalty for such crimes recently. Just last month following the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio which left over 30 dead, Mr. Trump called on the Justice Department to propose such legislation, so that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders would face the death penalty “quickly” and “decisively,” “without years of delay.”
Mr. Trump referred to the West Texas shooter responsible for the 38th mass shooting this year as “another very sick person” and he also expressed some doubt about the efficacy of background checks.
“If you look at the last four or five, going back even five or six or seven years, for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it,” he told reporters on the White House lawn Sunday. “So it’s a big problem. It’s a mental problem.”
In El Paso, prosecutors are planning to seek the death penalty for the man suspected of killing 22 people and injuring more than two dozen others at an El Paso Walmart store earlier in August.
U.S. Attorney John Bash announced last month his office would pursue a criminal investigation, a civil rights hate crime investigation and “domestic terrorism” charges against the suspect, who was identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.
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