Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday said it was “absurd” to tie new gun controls to immigration reform, which President Trump had suggested in the wake of the weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio.
“It’s absurd,” the New York Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Again, this is part of the problem. He’s linking [the] issue of basic, common-sense gun reform that we should be going back into the Senate today to vote on with this issue of immigration.”
“Because again, he continues to try to demonize people seeking asylum, people needing our help,” she said.
Minutes earlier, Mr. Trump had called on Republicans and Democrats to come together and “get strong background checks” and potentially tie them to immigration reforms.
Still, Ms. Gillibrand said she would “for sure” vote for House-passed legislation to expand gun-purchase background checks and extend the amount of time dealers have to wait to hear back from the FBI before proceeding with a sale.
“We should ban the assault weapons, and we should ban the large magazines,” she said. “We should have a federal anti-gun trafficking law as well as universal background checks.”
Democrats are renewing a push for gun controls after the weekend shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio left at least 29 people dead and dozens more injured.
Ms. Gillibrand also said Mr. Trump is “inciting” violence and hate.
“If I was president, I would use my Department of Justice to actually investigate white supremacy, to make sure that we knew what these groups were doing,” she said. “I would make sure we’d infiltrate these groups to make sure we [could] stop these kinds of terrorist attacks.”
“This is what domestic terrorism looks like, and we should be using our resources, the Department of Justice, our investigative arms with the FBI to actually root out this kind of terrorism at home,” she said.
Authorities are investigating whether 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, who is accused of killing 20 people at a shopping area in Texas on Saturday, was behind an anti-immigrant screed that surfaced online shortly before the shooting.