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What Policies May Arise from Weekend Tragedies?

Previously, the aftermath of mass killings have been met with a lot of calls for action, a lot of blame, and basically no agreement on what to do about it. It is hard to know if the mass shootings over the past weekend have pushed U.S. political will to a tipping point—only time will tell.

If they have, then indications are that any policy change may center around one or both of the following initiatives, which seem to have the most early traction.

The first is redirecting or adding appropriations that focus on efforts to prevent domestic extremism and terrorism. A statement from six former senior directors for counterterrorism at the National Security Council that span the Trump, Obama, and Bush administrations calls “on our government to make addressing [domestic terrorism] as high a priority as countering international terrorism has become since 9/11, and to provide the type of leadership and strategic guidance on this issue promised in the counterterrorism strategy released almost a year ago.”

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a news interview that “We do need a better effort to coordinate that at the headquarters level. And that’s what I’ve directed. I’d like to triple the staff we have available to address this and coordinate the intelligence side of it at the headquarters level, as well as investing in those grants and efforts that are going to help communities prepare for these kind of incidents.”

The second area getting traction is extreme risk protection orders, also known as red-flag laws. President Trump mentioned the tactic in his Monday comments. Republican senators Rob Portman from Colorado, Marco Rubio from Florida, and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina along with Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein from California and Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, are all linked to various red-flag laws and have renewed calls for Congress to address the issue when it reconvenes.

See recent articles in Security Management on related topics:

Extremist Attacks Rise as Polarization Increases – “In the United States, far-right extremism is emerging as a significant terrorism threat, with attack incident rates and casualty numbers likely to rise more quickly than those of Islamist terrorism.”

Solutions Post-Parkland – “The horrific tragedy launched several studies and initiatives with congruent goals of determining what should be done to minimize the chances that a similar incident could occur in the future. These recent efforts contain no shortage of recommendations, but they also illustrate the complexity of the problem.”