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GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left'

House Republicans recently circulated a memo with talking points on gun violence that seeks to pivot toward highlighting "violence from the left" when faced with questions about the influence of white nationalism.

A memo by Rep. Richard HudsonRichard Lane HudsonDemocrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' New Democratic super PAC to target swing-district Republicans over vote to overturn election The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE (R-N.C.) dated Aug. 6 and circulated by the House Republican Conference to rank-and-file members offers Republicans suggestions for how to respond to questions about their resistance to more gun restrictions.

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“In most cases, the media coverage has portrayed Democrats as caring and trying to do something and Republicans as uncaring and unwilling to do anything,” Hudson wrote in the memo obtained by The Hill. “The truth is all Americans are affected by these shootings, and we all want to do something.”

Hudson is allied with GOP leadership and a vocal supporter of gun rights who authored concealed-carry reciprocity legislation that passed in the last Congress while Republicans controlled the House.

Hudson said Republicans can point to legislation while they controlled the House in the last Congress to impose penalties on government agencies that fail to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and allow concealed-carry reciprocity if they’re asked what they've done to combat mass shootings.

House Democrats have been calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner Trump rules out starting a new party: 'Fake news' Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE (R-Ky.) to cut the upper chamber's August recess short to pass their legislation to expand background checks for gun sales in light of mass shootings this month in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

McConnell has rejected the idea, saying there needs to be “bipartisan discussion” first about what lawmakers can pass.

The shooting suspect in El Paso allegedly targeted Mexicans when he opened fire at a Walmart. The suspect also allegedly published an anti-immigrant manifesto decrying a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Hudson’s suggestion for Republicans facing the question “Do you believe white nationalism is driving more mass shootings recently” was to make a point of also condemning “violence from the left" to highlight history of violence on both sides. While the memo makes a point of rebuking white nationalism, it also makes the argument that there's extremism on the left as well.

“White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form,” the memo states, citing resolutions the House has passed this year to condemn white nationalism — coming in the aftermath of controversial comments from Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingRep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance In Marjorie Taylor Greene, a glimpse of the future House votes to kick Greene off committees over embrace of conspiracy theories MORE (R-Iowa) — and anti-Semitism.

But the memo goes on to state: “We also can't excuse violence from the left such as the Dayton shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords's shooter, and Antifa.”

The Tampa Bay Times first reported on the memo Friday.

The shooter who attacked Republicans at a Congressional Baseball Game practice in June 2017 was a supporter of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats nix 'Plan B' on minimum wage hike Senate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill NFL's Justin Jackson praises Sanders for opposing Biden's USDA nominee MORE (I-Vt.) who posted on social media about his negative views toward President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE and Republicans. 

But there's little evidence to support the notion that the shooters in Colorado, Dayton or in Tucson, Ariz., for former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's (D-Ariz.) constituent event in 2011 were motivated by left-wing politics.

The shooting suspect in Dayton, who was killed by police, reportedly expressed misogynistic tendencies and had an obsession with violence and mass shootings, but a clear motive has not been established. 

The Dayton suspect has been linked to a Twitter account that retweeted messages supportive of Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill Exclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren Minimum wage setback revives progressive calls to nix Senate filibuster MORE (D-Mass.) as well as Antifa.

The shooter that injured Giffords expressed paranoia about government and became obsessed with Giffords. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia at a federal prison hospital after the January 2011 shooting. 

One of the two high school students accused of opening fire at a Colorado school in May allegedly told police he targeted students who made fun of his gender identity. 

The New York Post reported that the Colorado suspect shared a video from "Late Night with Seth Meyers" criticizing Trump, but didn't offer any indication of the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

Some Republicans in recent weeks have expressed openness to so-called red-flag laws to allow authorities to prevent people considered unstable from having guns. Hudson's memo suggested that Republicans emphasize that risk protection orders “must have strong due process protections, requirements for mental health treatment and strict punishment for frivolous charges."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism George Floyd police reform bill reintroduced in House Nadler presses DOJ to prosecute all involved in Capitol riot MORE (D-N.Y.) announced Friday that he will bring his panel back from summer break a few days early on Sept. 4 to take up bills to ban the use of high-capacity ammunition magazines, to stop people considered to be a safety risk or convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from having guns. 

“These should not be partisan issues, and it is my hope we can move forward on these matters with support on both sides of the aisle, including the President,” Nadler said in a statement. 

The House Judiciary Committee is also slated to hold a hearing on Sept. 25 on military-style assault weapons. 

Olivia Beavers and Rachel Frazin contributed.

Updated: 6:30 p.m.