Donald Trump backs gun laws after Virginia shooting

2016 Republican front-runner Donald Trump comments on Virginia shooting as ‘mental health, not gun problem’

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Donald Trump says the Virginia shooting should not be a reason to get rid of all guns.

Donald Trump, the 2016 Republican front-runner said on Thursday that the fatal shooting of two Virginia journalists on live television should not be seen as another reason to tighten gun laws in the United States.

“This isn’t a gun problem, this is a mental problem. It’s not a question of the laws, it’s really the people,” Trump told CNN.

His comments came a day after WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were killed in Virginia by Vester Lee Flanagan - known professionally as Bryce Wiliams - a former employee of the station who was fired in 2013.

The Republican front-runner described Flanagan, who commited suicide hours after the incident, a “very sick man” and the shooting a “very sad commentary on one life.” Trump added that mental illness is a major problem in the US.

“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.

“At some point somebody should have seen that, I mean the people close to him should have seen it.” 

Trump didn’t propose any solutions but said there are "so many things that can be done".

However, it has come to light that the 41-year-old shooter, Vester Flanagan, had no known criminal history, as he had no history of mental ilnness, according to the authorities still investigating the case.

Following the tragedy, gun control advocates once again voiced the need of reforms, but Trump backed the Second Amendment adding that getting rid of all guns would lead to only bad guys owning guns and that “the good folks who abide by the law would be hopeless.”

His comments were sharply different from Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s reaction, whom calls for stricter gun laws.

In addition, Andy Parker, the father of the murdered journalist Alison Parker, said “I’m not trying to take away guns,” in a statement he released.

“There has to be a way to force politicians who are cowards and in the pockets of the NRA (The National Rifle Association of America) to make sensible laws so that crazy people can’t get guns. It can’t be that hard.”

TRTWorld and agencies