Donald Trump, the real-estate mogul and reality TV star who is currently running for the Republican 2016 presidential nomination, offered some unusual thoughts Sunday in the aftermath of the Oregon mass shooting on Thursday – a horrifying massacre in which a lone, mentally disturbed gunman armed with six weapons murdered nine people, wounded seven more, and then committed suicide.
While as generally happens after the alarmingly frequent mass shootings in America, there have been widespread calls for stricter gun control legislation after the shootings on Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Trump said he opposed any such gun legislation because new laws would be ineffective against mass shooters, who Trump called “geniuses in a certain way.”
“I have to say, no matter what you do, you’re gonna have problems,” Trump told Chuck Todd of the NBC Sunday morning program Meet The Press. “Because you have sick people. They happen to be intelligent. And, you know, they can be sick as hell and they’re geniuses in a certain way. They are going to be able to break the system.”
Donald Trump asserted that states and regions with the most strict gun control regulation, “are in almost every case the worst places. It doesn’t seem to work.” But he did not elaborate on what he meant by “the worst places.”
The state of Oregon, where Thursday’s deadly mass shooting took place, actually has extremely lenient gun laws, with no requirements to obtain a license or registration when purchasing and owning handguns. Background checks at the time of purchase are required, however, and to carry a concealed handgun, while legal, requires a permit.
On a separate Sunday interview, this time on the ABC News programThis Week With George Stephanopolous, Trump sounded a similar theme, though this time withholding his seeming praise for the intellectual prowess of people who commit mass shootings.
“The gun laws have nothing to do with this. This is mental illness,” Trump said.
Stephanopolous attempted to press Trump on what, if he were president, he would do to curb the alarming number of mass shootings in the United States, accusing Trump of seeming “passive” in his response to the repeated tragedies.
“I’m not passive at all,” Trump responded — but nonetheless offered no answer other than “that’s the way the world goes.”
“I can tell you people say ‘oh, were going to stop it,’ it doesn’t work that way,” Trump continued. “This has taken place whether its this type of crime or other crimes, taken place forever, from the beginning and you go out a million years from now you’re going to have problems and even if you have a very tough system you’re going to have people that slip through the cracks and it’s a very sad situation and you have to — great vigilance, I mean, you have to show great vigilance, and watch and be careful and security and everything else. But no matter what you do you will have problems and that’s the way the world goes.”
Later in the day, Trump made a campaign stop outside of Nashville, Tennessee, in which he again plunged into the subject of gun control legislation, comparing himself to the character played by late tough-guy actor Charles Bronson in the 1974 film Death Wish.
In the film, Bronson portrays a well-off, liberal architect in the crime-ridden New York City of the era, who purchases a gun and becomes a vigilante after his wife and daughter are attacked and raped by criminals.
Trump led the Tennessee crowd in a chant of “Death Wish! Death Wish!” and told his admirers, “Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct.”
As recently as 2007, however, Hollywood made two films at least partly inspired by Death Wish — Death Sentence, starring Kevin Bacon as a gun-toting vigilante, and The Brave One, in which Jodie Foster played a female version of a similar character.
Donald Trump dismissed any role of gun control legislation in preventing atrocities such as the Oregon shooting, and announced that if anyone who tried to attack him personally would be “shocked” because he, Trump, would react like Charles Bronson in Death Wish.
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