President Donald Trump repeated his assertion that the 2015 terrorist attacks at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris could have been prevented by armed concertgoers, The Hill reports. Trump made the remarks during his speech to gun rights advocates attending the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, which took place on Friday in Indianapolis.
“Paris, France, they say has the strongest gun laws in the world,” Trump said. “If there was one gun being carried by one person on the other side, it very well could have been a whole different result. The shooting went on so long and there wasn’t a thing you could do about it.”
While the president’s words were mostly in line with what could be expected within the confines of a forum dedicated to gun rights, many have criticized Trump for the tone in which he discussed the attacks, in particular his gestures and simplified reenactment of the tragedy.
“Get over here, boom. Here, boom. And then they left,” Trump said, punctuating his words with “finger guns,” pretending to pull a trigger with his hand pointed toward the crowd. Trump also said that if France has more lax gun laws and that terrorists were aware that ordinary citizens might, in fact, be armed, it would deter such attacks from even beginning.
This isn’t the first time that the president has been criticized for a cavalier attitude when it comes to this particular act of terrorism, which left 130 dead and hundreds more injured. The tragedy included coordinated attacks by Islamist extremists that unfolded simultaneously at a number of locations including a stadium, restaurants, and bars.
Trump’s previous remarks, which also took place at an NRA event, were previously met with condemnation from the French government.
“France expresses its firm disapproval of the comments by President Trump about the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris and asks for respect of the memory of the victims,” said Agnes von der Muhll, French foreign ministry spokesperson, at the time.
Also weighing in back in 2015 was former French President François Hollande, who characterized Trump’s tone as shameful and obscene. Even so, Hollande was careful to draw a distinction between what he saw as abhorrent behavior from the U.S. president and the border relationship between the French and the Americans in general.
“The friendship between our peoples will not be stained by this disrespect and outrageousness. All my thoughts are for the victims of the November 13 attacks,” he said.
Trump’s remarks Friday took place as the NRA faces its own internal leadership struggles, largely attributable to disagreements about the direction and tone the organization should take in its pro-gun rhetoric, as The Inquisitr has reported.