After any mass shooting, you can expect many politicians to jump in front of reporters and voters to herald support for cracking down on the ability of people to obtain, keep, and carry guns. President Donald Trump fits that mold, expressing his continuing support for imposing red flag laws to deprive people of their guns in his Monday statement in response to killings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. He further trumpeted in the statement gun restriction actions he has taken as president, including directing the Department of Justice to ban bump stocks and approving legislation strengthening gun purchase background checks. Trump also noted the United States government last year prosecuted a record number of firearms offenses.
But, Trump’s policy response in his statement went far beyond praising his past and ongoing gun control efforts. He also presented a list of other objectives including quick capital punishment for people found guilty of hate crimes and mass murder and more involuntary confinement of mentally disturbed people. He proposed cracking down on the internet as well.
Regarding the internet, Trump stated:
We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet, and stop mass murders before they start. The Internet, likewise, is used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, and so many other heinous crimes. The perils of the Internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.
This comment from Trump is not surprising, coming a couple weeks after United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin promoted a crackdown on cryptocurrencies because they, like the internet, can be used to help accomplish bad, or at least government disapproved, purposes. Make no mistake: When Trump says he wants to “shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet” he is calling for more surveillance of, restrictions on, and punishments for people’s internet activities.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.