SEOUL — President Trump on Tuesday asserted that tougher gun laws would not have stopped the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Tex., last weekend and that “hundreds more” would have died had another man not been able to “neutralize” the alleged killer with a gun of his own.
Asked during a news conference here whether he would entertain “extreme vetting” on guns, Trump appeared irritated by the question and suggested it was not appropriate to talk about “in the heart of South Korea.”
He then answered by saying, “If you did what you're suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago.” Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle, killing 26 people in a church. Another man, Stephen Willeford, later grabbed his own gun and exchanged fire with Kelley outside the church. Police found Kelley dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but authorities called Willeford a “hero" and said he helped stop Kelley.
Trump referred to Willeford as a “brave man” and said, “If he didn't have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead.... Not going to help.”
Trump was answering questions after a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who also participated in the news conference. Reporter Ali Vitali of NBC News followed up by asking Trump if he would consider any other gun control measure.
“You look at the city with the strongest gun laws in our nation, is Chicago,” Trump replied. “And Chicago is a disaster. It's a total disaster.... If this man didn't have a gun or rifle, you'd be talking about a much worse situation in the great state of Texas.”