Pittsburgh mayor hits back at Trump's calls for armed guards after synagogue shooting

Screenshot via CNN
  • Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto hit back at President Donald Trump’s comments that officials should increase armed security in the wake of mass attacks.
  • Speaking a day after a gunman killed 11 at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Peduto said officials should “not try to create laws around irrational behaviour,” but take guns “out of the hands of those looking to express hatred through murder.”
  • Trump said Saturday afternoon that he thought if the synagogue had “protection inside, the results would have been far better.”

Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto hit back at President Donald Trump’s comments that officials should look to increase armed security in public places in the wake of mass attacks.

After a gunman killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, Peduto told host Chuck Todd on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” that officials should confront “irrational” individuals in creating proactive policy.

Speaking after the attack, Trump said if the Tree of Life synagogue had “protection inside, the results would have been far better.”

A reporter later asked if Trump meant that all places of worship should have armed guards. Trump replied that it was “certainly an option” to what he said was “a world with many problems.”

Peduto rejected Trump’s prescription of ramping up armed security, saying sacred public places deserved more proactive measures of protection that would confront “irrational behaviour.”

“We’re dealing with an irrational person who acted irrationally – trying to create laws around that is not the way that we should govern,” Peduto said. “We should try to stop irrational behaviour from happening at the forefront. And not try to create laws around irrational behaviour to continue.”

Officials confirmed the shooting suspect was 46-year-old Robert Bowers, who shouted “all Jews must die” while opening fire Saturday morning, according to Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA.

When Trump responded to questions from reporters Saturday afternoon about the attack’s potential effects on gun policy, he said gun control laws had “little to do with” the shooting.

During a Sunday morning press conference, Peduto doubled down on his comments about gun policy when asked, saying officials should look to make plans to directly control access to guns.

“We should take the guns, which are the common denominator of every mass shooting in America, out of the hands of those looking to express hatred through murder,” Peduto said.

Peduto has tangled with Trump before, shooting back on Twitter when Trump said he was “elected by voters of Pittsburgh” in a statement that declared his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Peduto concluded his remarks at the press conference in saying, “Let this horrific episode be another mark in the march of humanity towards recognising that we are all one.”

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