O’Rourke Hopes to Curb Mass Shootings by Addressing White Supremacy Online: 5 Things to Know About His Plan

Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters

Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) unveiled a plan he believes could prevent shootings like the one that took place in his former congressional district in El Paso, Texas.

The former congressman put his campaign on hold after a white supremacist opened fire in a Walmart, killing 22 and injuring others. The gunman told law enforcement that he had driven across the state to target the high population of Mexican-American immigrants in the city.

Given the nature of the mass shooting, O’Rourke announced how he would address the threat of mass shootings and white supremacist terrorism if he becomes president. Here are five things to know about his plan:

O’Rourke would ban and buyback assault weapons nationwide.

A cornerstone of O’Rourke’s gun violence plan is to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. That ban prevented gun manufacturers from producing high-powered rifles and selling them in the United States, but it did not ban ownership of these weapons.

O’Rourke hopes to sign into law an assault weapons ban that would ban the production and sales of “military-style assault weapons” and high capacity magazines. In addition, O’Rourke would outlaw the possession of such weapons.

It is not clear which weapons O’Rourke would classify as “military-style assault weapons,” but those in possession of such weapons would be allowed to participate in a state-sponsored gun buyback to receive compensation for their weapons, similar to the buyback program put in place by New Zealand following the mosque shootings earlier this year.

It is also unclear whether such a law would stand before the Supreme Court, given the protections guaranteed under the Second Amendment.

He’d pass Red Flag laws, universal background checks, and more.

Along with his proposed ban and buyback, O’Rourke plans to implement many of the commonly discussed anti-gun violence proposals, including:

  • universal background checks;
  • a federal gun registry;
  • limiting the power of pro-gun activist groups like the National Rifle Association;
  • limit gun purchases to one per month for all individuals;
  • empower the National Institute of Health to study gun violence by declaring it a public health crisis;
  • implement tougher punishments for gun traffickers;
  • require nationwide Red Flag laws.

He’d also create a gun licensing requirement, similar to the one proposed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), that would require gun owners to have a license.

“When 40,000 people a year die of gun violence, it is an emergency,” O’Rourke wrote.

O’Rourke would have the DOJ prioritize white supremacist terrorism.

Although not every mass shooting was committed by a white supremacist, O’Rouke wants federal authorities to prioritize the rise of white supremacist crimes. He claims white supremacy must be addressed as an “organized crime problem.”

“As president, [O’Rourke] will make cracking down on white supremacy a top priority by treating far-right violence as an organized crime problem, improving data collection regarding hate crimes, allocating resources to fight domestic terrorism based on the severity of the threats posed by groups likely to commit violent acts, and developing comprehensive strategies to protect minority communities from far-right violence.”

O’Rourke hopes to make the Department of Justice (DOJ) implement a counterterrorism strategy focused on white supremacist terrorism in the United States, with the goal of preventing terrorist acts like the shootings in El Paso and the Charleston church shooting.

He’d hold social media companies responsible for ‘hateful activities’ on their platforms.

One of the most controversial points of O’Rourke’s proposal is his plan to hold social media companies responsible for the content posted on their platforms.

O’Rourke’s social media plan is two-fold: require tech companies to have a program that removes “hateful” content and open up social media to lawsuits for failing to block such content.

The first part of his plan would force tech companies to implement terms of service banning “hateful activities.”

“Beto would require large internet platforms to adopt terms of service to ban hateful activities, defined as those that incite or engage in violence, intimidation, harassment, threats, or defamation targeting an individual or group based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.  These companies also would be required to put in place systems designed to identify and act on content violating the terms of service. Platforms must be transparent when they block content and provide for an appeal process in order to guard against abuse.”

If companies are found to “knowingly promote content that incites violence,” they will be stripped of their publisher protections and made liable to lawsuits from users. This is similar to Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) plan to curb political bias by eliminating protections from companies swaying the political conversation, as IJR previously explained.

Some have expressed concerns that O’Rourke’s plan to force companies to create systems to block “hateful activities” could impede on an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Although the First Amendment does include exceptions for the direct incitement of violence, it does not include exceptions for offensive comments that could be considered harassment under O’Rourke’s plan.

He hopes to fight white supremacy around the globe.

O’Rourke is running to be the leader of the United States, but he hopes to carry that influence around the globe to address white supremacy in other places, as well. He claimed that Trump and other world leaders are “using racism to divide” and called on international cooperation to tackle white supremacy.

“Donald Trump and right-wing authoritarians around the world are using racism to divide people across the globe. Combatting this requires global solutions,” O’Rourke’s team wrote. “As president, Beto will sign the Christchurch Call to Action, which has been ignored by the Trump Administration, and will require the National Counterterrorism Center to coordinate with international partners to investigate global links to white nationalist violence.”

It is unclear how much O’Rourke’s plan will do to curb gun violence, given that most gun-related deaths are suicides or homicides committed by handguns, which are not included in his proposed bans.

What do you think?

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General Confusion
Member

Since the latest well publicized shootings, the FBI just announced that they stopped three more possible disasters, all concocted by confused right-wing nutjobs.

They saw how the other recent shootings ended and they STILL tried to cause more harm and pain.

General Confusion
Member

“Maybe YOU should try viewing FOX News for a while instead of the biased anti-American channels which cause your continual state of confusion; or is it more like ignorance of the facts?” Confused James

I tried watching FOX, but it made my head hurt. The drivel that comes out their mouths is intended for people who can’t think for themselves. You should try it, some day. Thinking, that is. That way you might, MIGHT be less confused.

Otis
Member

O’Dork won’t be doing anything ‘as’ president.

General Confusion
Member

“Bozo should be looking at the unhinged Leftists who are committing most of the mass murders in the US.” Confused James

Not only are you confused, but here you are just straight up lying.

Since 2009, 73% of terrorism in America was done by conservatives, including white nationalists. In 2018, 100% of our mass shootings were done by conservatives/groups. One hundred percent.

You are lying and I am pretty sure that you know that you are lying for effect.

General Confusion
Member

“The problem with your comment is that the Antifa person was the one attacking someone else with a hammer.” Wiz

Says someone who is confused by only watching FOX News’ doctored video. Don’t rely on FOX “news” for truth.

Their doctored video only shows the Antifa member throwing the hammer back into the black bus AFTER it was thrown at them by the fat American Guard white nationalist in the bus.

FOX LIED to you and you fell for it.

General Confusion
Member

Phyllis’ numbers differ a bit from what I see. If talking about deaths/killings, from 2009 through 2018, right-wing extremists accounted for 73 percent of such killings compared with 23 percent for Islamists and 3 percent for left-wing extremists. In 2018, the 4th deadliest year since 1970, the right-wing extremists are responsible for 100% of extremist deaths in America. What a shame. What a travesty. And hnder King Donald The Loser’s watch, the FBI disbanded their anti-white nationalist division. And detractors get up on their heels about Antifa. Who ever heard of right-wing terrorists apologizing for swearing? Someone in last weekend’s… Read more »

Screwtape
Member

Beta should be looking in the mirror. Antifa, the Dayton shooter, the Congressional softball shooter, Gabbie Gfford’s shooter were ALL Leftist or Dim affiliated.

He should also examine the words of people like Mad Max, Obozo, Holder, and Hillary. All used words to incite or advocate violence–guns to knife fights, kicking people, harassment, and dehumanizing people as “deplorables”.

James
Member

Bozo should be looking at the unhinged Leftists who are committing most of the mass murders in the US. Perhaps he should ban Leftists from having or acquiring any sort of weapon – guns, hammers, butter knives, vehicles – to do their deeds. Simply more BS.

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