NEW YORK -- After building a wall on the Mexican border and initiating a trade war with China, President Trump would do nothing to address his country's gun problem because America “doesn't have a gun problem.”
Responding to Wednesday’s shooting in Virginia, in which a disgruntled former colleague shot a TV reporter and a cameraman, the Republican frontrunner maintained the issue was one of mental health, and that restricting gun access was not a solution.
Donald Trump during an interview on Bloomberg TV at the Trump Tower in New York, US, on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015
Speaking on CNN on Thursday, the property tycoon said: “This isn’t a gun problem, this is a mental problem. It’s not a question of the laws, it’s really the people.”
Peddling NRA-scripted Republican orthodoxy, Trump said banning weapons would leave “bad guys” with guns, and everyone else defenseless, while noting that Shooter Vester Lee Flanagan, also know as Bryce Williams, was a “very sick man.”
“In the old days they had mental institutions for people like this because he was really, definitely borderline and definitely would have been and should have been institutionalised,” he said, adding: “At some point somebody should have seen that, I mean the people close to him should have seen it.”
On Thursday morning, the father of Alison Parker, the 24-year-old reporter murdered in the attack, offered a more nuanced reflection, saying that more should be done to restrict gun ownership for citizens with mental health issues.
“I’m not trying to take away guns,” he said. “There has to be a way to force politicians who are cowards and in the pockets of the NRA to make sensible laws so that crazy people can’t get guns. It can’t be that hard.”
On Wednesday, Barack Obama once again called for the country to examine how it can curb the violence. He said: “What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism.”