The White House is responding to the recent wave of mass shootings across the nation with a package that will include legislation for speeding up the death penalty for convicted murderers.
The Department of Justice has reportedly crafted new legislation which would expedite executions in cases involving mass violence, according to a report from Bloomberg.
(Video: Fox News)
Vice President Mike Pence has been working with Attorney General William Barr to draft the measure, Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short told reporters Monday as they traveled with the vice president on a Labor Day flight to Europe.
The legislation would eventually be part of the White House legislative package proposal to Congress on the debate over gun following a number of recent mass shootings.
Justice Department has drafted legislative language to expedite the death penalty for mass murderers and it will be part of whatever final legislative package the admin offers on gun violence, Pence chief of staff Marc Short tells reporters traveling in Europe. via @justinsink
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) September 2, 2019
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has called for abolishing the death penalty, said Monday that measures like the one Pence is working on would have been useless against incidents like the El Paso shooting.
.@JoeBiden SUPPORTS “universal background check” even though the El Paso and Dayton shooters passed theirs and yesterday’s #Odessa shooter flunked his. BUT Biden OPPOSES the death penalty for mass murderers, arguing, “Do you think the death penalty will stop that last guy?” ?!?
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) September 3, 2019
The 2020 Democratic frontrunner said during a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that the latest proposal is “what you do when you can’t get something done that’s rational — you increase the penalty for the irrational.”
“The president has no intestinal fortitude to deal with this. He knows better,” Biden said. “Come on. This is disgraceful. This is disgraceful, what’s happening.”
Biden’s Democratic 2020 rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has also said she rejected the idea.
“I don’t support the death penalty,” she told reporters at an event in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, according to Bloomberg.
“We need to treat this as the public health emergency that it is,” Warren said. “And it’s going to take a lot of pieces and a lot of changes that we need to do to bring down deaths from gun violence.”
Earlier this month following the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump said he was “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.” Trump said he wanted to ensure that “this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.”
Federal executions were set to be resumed for the first time since 2003 following an announcement by Barr in July.
“Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” Barr said in a statement announcing an addendum to federal protocol adopted by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
“Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers,” he said, referring to five men who had been convicted of murdering or raping children and the elderly.
“The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” he added.
The gun safety debate escalated in urgency again following the shooting Saturday in Texas which left seven people dead and more than a dozen others wounded.
Trump is urging Congress to work with the White House to draft new laws, enforce and expedite existing measures – such as capital punishment – and so-called “red flag” legislation in order “to identify severely disturbed individuals and disrupt their plans before they strike.”
“It would be wonderful to say — to say ‘eliminate,’ but we want to substantially reduce the violent crime — and actually, in any form,” he said Sunday. “This includes strong measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous and deranged individuals, and substantial reforms to our nation’s broken mental health system.”
“To reduce violence, we must also ensure that criminals with guns are put behind bars and kept off the streets,” he said.
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