Mass shootings 'absolutely a homeland security threat': McAleenan

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Mass shootings 'absolutely a homeland security threat': McAleenan originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., responded to the mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, where 4 people were killed and 21 injured on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.

Speaking from Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters on Sunday, McAleenan said mass shootings are "absolutely are a homeland security threat."

Since April, when McAleenan became acting secretary, the Department of Homeland Security set up a new office with what he said was an explicit focus on domestic terrorism and racially motivated violent extremism.

Responding to a question on whether or not the department should devote more resources to fighting mass shootings, McAleenan said, "that's a conversation that we're having as an interagency team with the FBI, with the Office of Management and Budget to see what the right resource level is going forward."

(MORE: 4 killed, 21 others injured in extended mass shooting in Odessa, Texas: Police)

PHOTO: Authorities cordon off a part of the sidewalk in Odessa, Texas, after a mass shooting on Aug. 31, 2019. (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)

PHOTO: Authorities cordon off a part of the sidewalk in Odessa, Texas, after a mass shooting on Aug. 31, 2019. (Mark Rogers/Odessa American via AP)

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The deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, galvanized calls for tighter gun control legislation, with the West Texas shooting on Saturday that left at least five dead and 21 injured solidifying those appeals to action.

Toomey has said that he spoke with President Donald last week about gun control measures and said that the president was "very interested" in legislation modeled off a bipartisan bill Toomey sponsored with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to expand background checks on gun sales, proposed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012.

The revived Manchin-Toomey bill calls for background checks on all commercial firearm sales and -- in an effort to bolster chances of Republican support -- is less ambitious than the universal background checks that Democrats have urged. The Manchin-Toomey legislation would not require background checks for guns transferred or sold among friends and family.

Toomey also does not support a ban on assault weapons, saying in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday that assault weapons are "extremely popular" and that doing so "would be an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens."

This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

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