Trump Says Stricter Gun Laws Could Have Added To Sutherland Springs Death Toll

Hours after a candlelight vigil was held in Sutherland Springs, Texas, for the 26 victims of Sunday’s shooting at the First Baptist Church, President Donald Trump continued to assert that stronger gun laws would have made no difference, adding that they would have made things worse.

During a news conference this morning in Seoul, South Korea, Trump dismissed the notion that “extreme vetting” of those who want to buy guns should be considered.

“If you did what you suggest,” Trump told NBC reporter Ali Vitali, who asked the question, “there would have been no difference three days ago.”

Stricter gun laws could have made the carnage from the shooting much worse, Trump added, speculating that it could have prevented Sutherland Springs resident Stephen Willeford from taking his own gun and pursuing killer Devin Patrick Kelley.

“If he didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead you would have hundreds more dead.”

Trump appeared to be irritated with Vitali’s question and said he did not think he should be asked questions about gun control while he was in South Korea during a stop on his two-week Asian trip.

“You’re bringing up a question that shouldn’t be discussed too much right now,” Trump said, adding that more time should be allowed to pass. “If you feel that’s an appropriate question even though we’re in the heart of South Korea.”

When Vitali asked a follow-up question about gun control, the president said there is gun control in Chicago and “it’s a disaster. A total disaster.”

On Monday, Trump laid the blame for the worst church shooting in United States history on another culprit, rather than guns.

“I think that mental health is your problem here,” Trump said, describing Devon Patrick Kelley as a “very deranged individual.”

Sutherland Springs Candlelight Vigil was held after 26 people were killed Sunday by a gunman who later killed himself. President Donald Trump says mental health, not guns, was the cause.
Hours after a candlelight vigil was held in Sutherland Springs, Texas, President Donald Trump said stricter gun control would have cost more lives. [Photo by David J. Phillip/AP Images]

Despite this assertion, media outlets have noted that one of Trump’s early acts after taking office was to roll back regulations created by the Obama administration that made it harder for people with mental illness to buy guns.

Under those regulations, the Social Security Administration was required to report mentally ill people who were unable to take care of their own benefits to the national background check database. While the regulation did not forbid those people from owning guns, it required that their situations be investigated before purchases would be allowed.

[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]