Donald Trump believes that arming the victims of the Pulse shooting would have prevented their deaths.
The president met with lawmakers on Wednesday for a bipartisan meeting on gun reform in the wake of the Parkland, Fla. shooting, in which 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were killed by a former classmate. Although Trump signaled he would be willing to embrace some restrictions on access to firearms, he drew the line at “gun-free zones,” citing the 2016 gay bar attack as an example.
The POTUS claimed more guns might have stopped 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who murdered 49 people and injured 58 more in the Jun. 12 incident.
“Take an example, you take Pulse nightclub,” Trump said. “If you had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn’t have happened, or certainly not to the extent it did, where he was just in there shooting, and shooting and shooting and they were defenseless.”
.@realDonaldTrump is continuing to spread lies about the Pulse nightclub shooting and spouting @NRA talking points instead of fighting for gun reform that would actually protect marginalized communities that are most targeted by gun violence. pic.twitter.com/nFoWcx8tYM
— GLAAD (@glaad) February 28, 2018
This isn’t the first time the president has asserted a lack of firepower played a part in the tragedy. During the 2016 campaign, Trump told supporters at an Atlanta rally the victims should have been packing as Mateen opened fire on the crowd.
“[I]f the bullets were going in the other direction… you would’ve had a situation, folks,” he said.
But Trump’s repeated assertions that the Pulse shooting could have prevented by giving everyone an Ak-47, his arguments neglect one key fact: There were guns at the bar that night.
Officer Adam Gruler, an off-duty police officer working security at Pulse during the shooting, was the first law enforcement official to engage Mateen. A police report filed the same day confirms that Gruler “engaged in a gun battle with that suspect, and the suspect went deeper into the club where more shots were fired.”
— GLAAD (@glaad) February 28, 2018
Two patrolmen who responded to Gruler’s call for backup were also armed, and the nearby officers traded gunfire with the shooter. Mateen would be shot a total of eight times during the standoff, which ended around 5:00am.
Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse shooting, responded to the president’s repeated distortion of the facts on Twitter.
“There was an armed officer at Pulse and guess what?” Wolf claimed on social media. “We still were attacked. 49 killed. I lost my two best friends. You don’t get to spout lies and use them as leverage.”
Pardon me, @realDonaldTrump , but watch your damn mouth. There WAS an armed officer at Pulse and guess what? We still were attacked. 49 killed. I lost my TWO BEST FRIENDS.
You don’t get to spout lies and use them as leverage. NOT TODAY, SATAN. https://t.co/6sDLTF3Q5h
— Brandon Wolf (@bjoewolf) February 28, 2018
Despite decrying “gun-free zones,” Trump broke with the Republican party on Wednesday to call for measures would prevent the mentally ill from accessing guns and enforce background checks on all firearm purchases. He even urged lawmakers to support a bipartisan bill put forward after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2013. The legislation, which instituted bans on ban assault weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, stalled in the Senate.
“It’s time that a president stepped up,” the president claimed.
Trump has also stated in recent days, however, that he would have personally prevented the tragedy in Parkland by running into Marjory Stoneman Douglas unarmed.
h/t Orlando Weekly
Photo viaGerardo Mora/Getty Images