When President Trump was asked about the mass shooting this morning at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left eight dead, he told reporters that greater security inside the synagogue, not stricter gun laws, could have prevented the tragedy.
“This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside, they would have been able to stop him immediately,” the president said. “Maybe there would have been nobody killed.”
Four police officers were shot in a confrontation with the assailant.
When a reporter asked if it was time to revisit federal gun reform legislation, Trump brushed the suggestion aside. “Well again, this has little to do with it,” he said. “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.”
In response to a question about what should be done about the continuous cycle of mass shootings in this country, the president suggested stricter corporal punishment. “We should stiffen up our laws in terms of the death penalty,” the president replied. “They should pay the ultimate price.”
Trump characterized the shooter as “a madman, a whacko” a blamed a “violent world” for the loss of life at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh earlier today.
President Trump has expressed conflicting opinions on the subject of gun control since the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, reawakened national outcry for the federal government to act. The day after the Parkland massacre, the president blamed the shooting on the gunman’s mental health and called for arming teachers in a speech the following week. But he has also demonstrated interest in stronger federally mandated background checks—the central aim of gun violence prevention activists—during a roundtable with victims of gun violence at the end of February. Congress has not passed any significant federal gun reform legislation since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 26 dead.
The president says he will address the shooting during his remarks at the Future Farmers of America conference in Indianapolis, where he is scheduled to appear at 2:30 pm this afternoon.