Trump Defends Guns in the Wake of El Paso, Dayton Massacres

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger—not the gun.”

Chris Kleponis/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

President Donald Trump on Monday sounded the alarm about video games, the internet, and mental health issues in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio—but he declared that the availability of firearms was not responsible for the massacres.

“We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment but, when necessary, involuntary confinement,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House. “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger—not the gun.”

The remarks suggest that the president may not be willing to push for increased gun control legislation in response to the twin shootings that killed at least 29 people over the weekend.  Despite tweeting his vague support for strengthening background checks for firearms purchases earlier in the morning, Trump’s televised address made no mention of such support. Trump did signal support for so-called “red flag” laws that would allow law enforcement to seize the weapons of those deemed a danger to themselves or others.

In an effort to condemn racism, the president also referenced the suspected El Paso shooter’s white nationalist manifesto that warned of a “Hispanic invasion.” Trump did not, however, renounce his own record of racist attacks against immigrants and minorities.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate