Washington Post / YouTube Trump and South Korea  s...
Washington Post / YouTube

Donald Trump was really unhappy to be asked about gun laws by NBC’s Ali Vitali at a press conference in South Korea. “You’ve talked about wanting to put extreme vetting on people trying to come into the United States,” Vitali said. “But I wonder if you’d consider extreme vetting for people trying to buy a gun?” (Watch the video below.) Trump’s entire face puckered up, his lips pursed, and he started off with a lecture about how inappropriate the question was:

Well, you know, you’re bringing up a situation that probably shouldn’t be discussed too much right now. We could let a little time go by, but it’s okay, if you feel that’s an appropriate question, even though we’re in the heart of South Korea. I will certainly answer your question.

Okay, so we’ll wait another few days and then there’ll be another mass shooting and it will once again be inappropriate to ask? Whereas Trump’s “extreme vetting” comments about immigration were appropriate, he thought, within hours of the truck attack in New York City.

Trump continued:

If you did what you’re suggesting there would have been no difference three days ago, and you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck, go out and shoot him, and hit him, and neutralize him. And I can only say this: If he didn’t have a gun, instead of 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it. Not going to help.

We can’t be more strict about background checks and the sale of instruments of mass murder because then … it might be less likely that someone would have a gun to stop the shooters that there would be fewer of to begin with? We can be grateful that Stephen Willeford succeeded at chasing Devin Kelley away—though, according to reports, Willeford only confronted Kelley after he left the church, having shot basically everyone in it—without dismissing the idea that it would be nice if Devin Kelley, with his record of domestic violence, had a harder time getting a semiautomatic weapon to begin with. And how about if we remember how just days ago, the fact that so many people drew their own guns after three people were killed in a Walmart impeded the investigation. Or remember any number of times when police, trained both to shoot and to respond to emergencies, shot multiple bystanders

And if Stephen Willeford didn’t have a gun, “instead of 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead”? In Trump’s mind, was Devin Kelley about to head to another church and another and another and shoot them all up without anyone ever calling the police? How does he imagine this working? On follow-up, Trump went on to blather about Chicago, because of course no Trump answer on guns would be complete without a little racist dog-whistling.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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