Donald Trump: more people with guns would help prevent mass shootings.

Donald Trump: Arming More People Would Help Prevent Mass Shootings

Donald Trump: Arming More People Would Help Prevent Mass Shootings

The Slatest
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Oct. 4 2015 12:20 PM

Donald Trump: Arming More People Would Help Prevent Mass Shootings

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Donald Trump holds up a replica flintlock rifle awarded him by cadets during the Republican Society Patriot Dinner at the Citadel Military College on February 22, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images

Right after the country’s latest mass school shooting, Donald Trump seemed to be clear about what could be done to prevent the next massacre: nothing. Now, the real estate mogul seems to have refined his position slightly, saying the answer could very well be to arm more people. “I can make the case that if there were guns in that room other than [the shooter’s] fewer people would have died, fewer people would have been so horribly injured,” Trump said on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Trump said the problem isn’t guns but rather mental illness and “copycat” attacks. “No matter what you do, guns no guns, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “There are people who are mentally ill and they’re going to come through the cracks and they’ll do things that people won’t even believe are possible.”

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Laws aren’t the solution, Trump said, because the cities with the strongest gun laws often have the worst gun violence. “You take Chicago, you take Baltimore, you take various other places where you have tremendous gun violence and death,” Trump said. “The strictest laws in the United States—in the world—for guns happens to be Chicago where they have a lot of problems. Baltimore, a lot of the places where you have the biggest problem is where they have the strongest laws.” (Trump apparently hasn’t seen this chart that clearly shows how states with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun deaths.)

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, Trump also said tighter gun control laws wouldn’t prevent massacres. "No matter what you do, you're going to have difficulties," Trump said. "The gun laws have nothing to do with this. This is about mental illness ... You're always going to have difficulties no matter how tight you run it."

His comments on NBC echo what he had told supporters on Saturday during a rally in Tennessee, where he said that if teachers at Umpqua Community College had been armed then the shooting would not have been as tragic. "By the way, it was a gun-free zone," he said, according to CNN. "Let me tell you, if you had a couple teachers with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off."

The Republican frontrunner also showed off about his supposed skills with a firearm and said anyone who tried to attack him would be “shocked” because he would emulate Charles Bronson in the vigilante movie Death Wish. "Can you imagine with Trump, somebody says, 'Ohhh, all these big monsters aren't around, he's easy pickins, and then ... pu-ching!" Trump said to laughter, according to the Associated Press. "So this is about self-defense, plain and simple."

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.