President Donald Trump said Monday that the massacre at a Texas church the day before “isn’t a guns situation,” pointing instead to mental health issues as the cause of the deadliest shooting in the state’s history.
“Mental health is your problem here,” Trump said when asked whether he would consider pressing for gun control legislation in the wake of Sunday’s shooting that saw at least 26 killed and 20 more injured.
“This isn’t a guns situation,” he added. “This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”
Citing “preliminary reports,” Trump said the shooter was “a very deranged individual.”
He also argued that gun access helped in the situation saying: “Fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it would’ve been, as bad as it was, it would’ve been much worse.”
He noted his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and the families, pledging his administrator’s “full support to the great state of Texas and all local authorities investigating this horrible crime.”
Trump’s comments came during a joint press briefing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan, where almost all forms of firearm ownership are forbidden. The country has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world.