Ohio Shooting

Jamila McNichols, sister of slain mass shooting victim Thomas "TJ" McNichols, mourns beside a memorial near the scene of the mass shooting Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Leaders at every level in the United States from President Donald Trump to local city councils must act to make mental health care more readily accessible for those who need it.

As a nation, we must forcefully and repeatedly stand against all forms of hatred, including white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

We must address the ways in which those evils fester and spread through social media and other online outlets in a manner that balances free speech protections with tools to address serious threats.

We must take these actions and others to help prevent killings like those that took more than 30 lives this weekend and injured dozens more people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — and to make our nation a safer, saner place in which we can live alongside one another in peace.

But if we ever hope to end mass shootings, we’re going to have to do something about guns.

On Monday, President Trump called for stronger background checks, which is an idea with overwhelming support across party lines. Practical steps to boost the effectiveness of background checks and require them for more gun purchases are long overdue.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., suggested passing so-called “red flag” laws to empower law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from the homes of people deemed to be threats to themselves or to others.

S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, asked Gov. Henry McMaster to call a special session of the state Legislature to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

A more sensible background check system would help keep dangerous people from gaining access to deadly weapons in the first place. Red flag laws would help police act to prevent violence including, most commonly, self-harm. And restrictions on high-capacity magazines would help reduce the carnage of mass shootings.

These measures and others warrant discussion. Indeed, they have warranted serious consideration for years now, across countless shootings that have claimed thousands of lives.

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Typically, mass shootings prompt calls to action that slowly grow quiet as the horror of each new slaughter fades from the public consciousness. But for the ever-growing number of family members, friends, coworkers and loved ones affected by gun violence, the pain will not dissipate so easily.

It is encouraging that this weekend’s tragedies have led to an unusually large number of specific and bipartisan gun reform proposals from a number of lawmakers.

There is no magic solution to ending this scourge, but that should not stop us from taking actions that will protect more people.

We urge our leaders at every level to take long overdue action to combat the gun violence that claims roughly 40,000 American lives each year. And we ask that they do so with determination, knowing that the rising toll of senselessly weak gun laws does not pause for political calculations and hand-wringing.