President Donald Trump still doesn’t support gun control measures after a gunman killed 26 at a small church in Texas, and even suggested it may exacerbate the problem.
Trump, who praised an armed civilian that shot the gunman, rebuffed suggestions from a reporter that “extreme vetting” for prospective gun owners could help.
He said: “If you did what you’re suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago,” referring to the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Trump then shifted to talking about Stephen Willeford, who lived near the church and came out of his home armed after hearing the shooting to confront the gunman.
“I can only say this. If [Willeford] didn’t have a gun, instead of 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it, not going to help,” said Trump.
On Monday, Trump blamed the shooting on “mental health,” calling the gunman a “deranged individual” and dismissing the shooting as a “guns issue.”
“This is a mental health issue at the highest level and it’s very very sad,” said Trump. “That’s the way I view it.”
The US has more mass shootings than any other developed country and looser gun control laws than other nations with similar demographics.
The gunman, Devin Patrick Kelley, should not have been able to buy a gun due to a felony on his record during his time with the US air force, but the existing gun control laws in place failed to work as the Pentagon had not released Kelley’s record to background checking agencies.
Kelley reportedly owned four guns purchased after his conviction for assaulting his wife and child. In the attack, Kelley killed the grandmother of his wife as he opened fire in the church.
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