- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2019

In response to last weekend’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro unveiled a plan on Friday that would bolster federal efforts to combat extremism and domestic terrorism and institute new gun policies such as a national licensing system and a federal buyback program.

“White supremacist terrorism is a threat to our safety made more deadly by easy access to guns,” said Mr. Castro, a former housing secretary under President Barack Obama. “The horrific tragedy in El Paso was not an isolated incident. White nationalism is on the rise, and the gun violence epidemic is a national crisis. Our time to act is now.”

Mr. Castro’s plan includes a White House initiative on “disarming hate” to coordinate programs between various agencies with dedicated funding of at least $100 million per year.

He also wants to use federal grant programs to rehabilitate members of “extremist” organizations and invest an additional $50 million per year in State Department programs to support international cooperation on disrupting “networks of violent extremism.”

Authorities have linked an anti-immigrant “manifesto” to the accused El Paso shooter that expresses concern about an influx of Hispanics into Texas. Federal authorities are treating the shooting, which claimed the lives of 22 people, as a domestic terrorism case.

Officials are still working to determine a motive in a separate shooting in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday that claimed the lives of nine people.

Mr. Castro’s plan also included planned executive actions to more closely examine requirements for firearms dealers, include unmarried domestic partners in protections under the Violence Against Women Act, deny gun sales to people with a warrant out for their arrest, and ban the import of “assault weapons.”

The plan also entails a federal licensing requirement for gun owners and a federal buyback program through an “Assault Weapon Reduction Trust Fund” “to purchase firearms including assault weapons and banned high capacity magazines to ensure 2021 is the high-water mark of weapons of war on American streets.”

His plan also listed other gun control priorities such as tightening gun-purchase background checks, a seven-day waiting period for gun buys and bans on military-style, semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.

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