Trump says it’s time to tackle ‘difficult’ mental-health issue, does not mention gun laws in address after Florida shooting

  • President Donald Trump gave a televised address on Thursday about the latest mass shooting.
  • A gunman killed at least 17 people at a Florida high school on Wednesday, injuring more than a dozen others.
  • Trump called for actions that make a “difference” in his speech, but he did not mention guns.

President Donald Trump on Thursday called for action after the horrific school shooting in Florida the day before that left at least 17 people dead and more than a dozen injured.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference,” Trump said from the White House, where he said he was speaking with a nation “in grief.”

The shooting happened Wednesday afternoon when a man armed with what authorities say was an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle attacked Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. Authorities and family members by Thursday afternoon had begun to identify the dead, which included students and faculty members.

“Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil,” Trump said at the beginning of his address.

Trump said he was planning to visit Parkland to meet with families and officials involved in the response and would meet with state governors and attorneys general later this month to focus on making schools safer. He said it was time to tackle the “difficult” issue of mental health in relation to shootings, but he did not mention guns.

He insisted that no students should fear attending an American school and sought to speak directly to “America’s children.”

“You are never alone, and you never will be,” he said. “You have people who care about you, who love you and will do anything to protect you.”

Trump tweeted about the shooting earlier Thursday morning.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behaviour,” he wrote, referring to the suspect, identified by authorities as Nikolas Cruz, 19. “Neighbours and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that his “prayers and condolences” went out to the victims’ families.

“No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,” he wrote.

Some lawmakers have already called for new regulations and congressional action since the shooting, while others have said there shouldn’t be a “knee-jerk” reaction to the violence.

At a conference of county sheriffs in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised “we’re going to do something” and “we can and must do better.”

“It cannot be denied that something dangerous and unhealthy is happening our country,” he said.