The White House said Monday it has drafted legislation with the Justice Department that would expedite the death penalty for people found guilty of committing mass shootings, following Saturday's attack in West Texas that left seven dead, according to a pool report.
Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, told reporters aboard Air Force Two that the initiative was part of a larger White House gun control package that will be sent to Congress after lawmakers return from their August recess on Sept. 9.
Attorney General Bill Barr is involved in active discussions with the vice president's office, Short said, as the plane made its way to Ireland.
The issue could be contentious among Democrats seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke has sought to revive his struggling candidacy by calling for a mandatory buyback of what he called "assault weapons" -- but he also has insisted, in a recent policy shift, that capital punishment is categorically wrong.
Still, there has been little hesitation from the Trump administration on the issue. In August, Trump said he was “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty," adding that he wanted "capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.”