En route to Puerto Rico Tuesday morning, President Trump lashed out at Las Vegas gunman, identified by authorities as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.
‘He’s a sick man, a demented man, a lot of problems I guess and we’re looking into him very, very seriously, but we’re dealing with a very sick individual,’ the president said.
Trump also promised reporters ‘we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by,’ in the aftermath of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.
However, when asked about a particular piece of legislation, which would make it easier for gun owners to purchase silencers, he wasn’t ready to delve into specifics.
‘Well talk about that later,’ Trump told the journalists gathered on the South Lawn of the White House.
The president and first lady will visit Las Vegas on Wednesday.
President Trump stopped briefly to talk to reporters as he left the White House Tuesday morning to visit Puerto Rico
President Trump (left), standing alongside first lady Melania Trump (right), promised to talk about gun laws ‘as time goes by,’ and when asked about specific legislation he said, ‘later’
President Trump (left) and first lady Melania Trump (right) are photographed walking onto the White House’s South Lawn Tuesday as they leave for Puerto Rico. The Trumps will then visit Las Vegas on Wednesday
President Trump was following up on his own statements, made yesterday from the Diplomatic Reception Room, in which he called Paddock’s shooting spree an ‘act of pure evil.’
He was also deploying a similar tactic as his press secretary, who asked for a pause on gun control conversations as the nation mourned the Las Vegas victims, who now number 59.
‘There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,’ urged Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders from the White House podium on Monday. ‘There is currently an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation, a motive has yet to be determined and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all the facts or what took place.’
While the National Rifle Association’s social media accounts have gone silent, calls for better gun control measures are coming from across the aisle.
From within Congress, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has been the most vocal, as he was the congressman representing Newtown, Connecticut, during the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children were mowed down, along with six adults.
On Morning Joe Tuesday, Murphy said the administration’s stalling tactic came straight from the gun lobby’s playbook.
‘Listen, I think it’s a very convenient tool of the gun lobby to say that there’s got to be a 24, 48 hour window waiting period before we start talking about change,’ he said on MSNBC.
‘The fact of the matter is the whole country’s focused on why this happened and the reality is that much of it is rooted in the evil inside this one individual, but much of it is rooted in our laws which allowed him to get his hands on weapons that are illegal in almost any other civilized country,’ Murphy added.
He had said Monday that he planned to introduce a universal background checks bill as a rallying point for Democrats to get behind.
Host Willie Geist, however, asked Murphy what specific laws could have prevented the Las Vegas shooting spree.
Murphy pointed to the ending of the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.
‘Let’s just be clear that the pace of these epic mass shootings, 10 or more people being killed, doubles after the assault weapons ban expired, that’s not a coincidence,’ Murphy said.
The four deadliest shootings in US history, with the Vegas slaughter now sitting at the top, all happened post-2004.
Last year’s Pulse nightclub shooting is now second, followed by the 2007 mass shooting on the campus at Virginia Tech, in which 32 were killed, followed by the 2012 incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Murphy also said the Congress should look into ‘after market modifications,’ which make guns more deadly, turning semiautomatics weapons into automatics ones.
The Connecticut Democrat also took issue with Geist’s question, saying that the gun lobby only wants to talk about ‘policy changes that would have affected the shooting that happened the day before.’
‘We have to get back to evergreen changes,’ Murphy urged.
‘Background checks is still the most likely piece of legislation to get passed through Congress because it enjoys widespread public approval and frankly probably is most dispositive on the amount of gun violence that happens every day,’ he said.