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Maryland Lawmakers React To Mass Shootings In El Paso, Texas And Dayton, Ohio

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- As the country is reeling following two mass shootings that took the lives of at least 29 people in less than 13 hours, Maryland lawmakers are reacting to the latest gun violence.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted his condolences twice over the weekend.

On Saturday, Hogan tweeted following the shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart that took the lives of at least 20 people.

"Our hearts go out to the entire El Paso community in the wake of yet another heinous act of violence. We are grateful to the police, doctors, and first responders for their heroic efforts. Marylanders will be keeping all of the victims and their loved ones in our prayers," Hogan tweeted.

Not even 24 hours later, Hogan tweeted again about mass violence after a gunman opened fire inside a Dayton, Ohio, bar in the early morning hours of Sunday.

"Another great American community forced to grieve after an unspeakable act of violence. The prayers of Marylanders are with the victims and their families, the courageous first responders, and all of Dayton. We must stand united in our belief that no amount of fear can divide us," Hogan said.

President Trump did not call for gun control measures like universal background checks during comments from the White House about mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, but he instead promoted the expansion of red flag laws — which Maryland has — that allow authorities to seize weapons of people who are mentally ill or present an immediate danger.

Maryland has seen several mass shootings in the past two years—including two in Harford County—and at the Capital Gazette newsroom In Annapolis.

In each case, the shooter presented warning signs of violent behavior and mental illness that were ignored.

Governor Hogan tweeted Monday, "Keeping our cities and communities safe is my most solemn responsibility as governor. In all of these areas, I reiterated the importance of total communication and coordination at all levels of government." 

The governor said he discussed extremist threats with the FBI and State Police.

Howard Libit is the executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council. He's alarmed by the hate-motivated violence.

"I don't know what the breaking point is. I don't think we're there yet," Libit said. "I know we're much more on edge today than we were this past weekend."

Libit notes increased security at local synagogues after mass shootings in Pittsburgh and San Diego.

"The Maryland legislature approved funding to help houses of worship and schools at risk of hate crimes," Libit said. "We need to make sure we're standing with other communities when they're attacked. When any minority is attacked with hate, we all need to stand up with them."

Also Monday, the Baltimore Ravens held a moment of silence for the victims in El Paso and Dayton before practice.

Other Maryland lawmakers also reacted to the deadly shootings.

Rep. John Sarbanes tweeted: "For those who grieve in Dayton, El Paso, Gilroy and so many other communities in our country, we must deliver actions not words. Fight hate and racism. Ban weapons of war."

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) called for Republican lawmakers to vote for stricter gun control.

"Doing nothing but sharing thoughts and prayers is costing lives. Congress continues to languish in inaction as Senate Republicans refuse to take action on gun violence. We must finally #DoSomething #ElPaso," Cardin tweeted Saturday.

"We mourn for Dayton and El Paso. We mourn for those who will be next until Republicans comprehend the time to act has long passed. Daily and terrorist shootings are a public health epidemic. People are dying. We cannot save every life but we can and must save as many as possible," Cardin tweeted Sunday.

Maryland minority whip and state senator Steve Hershey tweeted twice on Sunday:

"I'm done with the thoughts and prayers. I'm done with the phony outrage from scores of politicians. I'm angry. I'm horrified. I'm devastated. Our American culture is suffering. Let's call this what it is: A white nationalist committed an act of terrorism," he tweeted.

"How many more times are we going to use "mental illness" as the standard response to a mass shooting? That crutch has been worn thin. Here's what happened in #ElPaso: A guy drove hundreds of miles and committed an act of terrorism. This guy is a hateful white nationalist. Period," Hershey tweeted. 

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