Representative Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the House, is still recovering from gunshot wounds he sustained in 2017 when a gunman opened fire during practice for a congressional baseball game. Mr. Scalise said the weekend shootings should be called “domestic terrorism,” but he also blamed the media, saying that “a media culture that encourages viewing people solely through hyperpartisan lenses,” can “often lead to violent consequences.”
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of a handful of Republican centrists in the Senate, already faced a tough re-election race should she choose to run again. On Sunday, she issued a statement saying, “We have united in the wake of tragedies in the past, and we can do so again to stop this violence.” She is one of only two Republicans left in the Senate who voted for a background check bill almost identical to the one passed this year by the House, and on Monday she wrote on Twitter that she had long supported “closing loopholes” in such checks.
But passage of such legislation in the Senate would take enormous political pressure — and probably President Trump’s pushing. The bill, written by Senators Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, fell to a filibuster in 2013. Since then eight of the Democrats who voted for the measure have been replaced by Republicans.
Some of the Democrats campaigning for the party’s nomination to run for president condemned Mr. Trump for not calling the El Paso attack a white supremacist act of domestic terrorism. Some Democrats blame the White House for what they suggested was a tolerance for white nationalist groups, something that was not common among Mr. Trump’s recent predecessors.
In another Twitter post on Monday, the president railed against the news media, blaming it for the contributing to “the anger and rage” in the United States.
Still, no federal agency is responsible for designating domestic terrorism organizations, as it has for international terrorism. Similarly, there is no criminal charge of domestic terrorism, and suspects who are by definition considered domestic terrorists are charged under other laws, such as hate crime, gun and conspiracy statutes.
According to F.B.I. statistics, there have been eight mass shootings in the United States since 2017, in which the shooters espoused white supremacist views.