Because Trump's position is so pivotal for the gun debate — and because it's still unclear exactly what he intends to push for and how hard — I thought it worth presenting his full comments and parsing them. To see an annotation, click on the yellow, highlighted text.
Today, I want to hear your ideas on a number of critical issues. But most importantly, we want to discuss the public safety in schools and public safety generally. But school safety — we can't have this go on.
I'm grateful that Governor Rick Scott is here, and we thank him for his leadership in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Parkland, Florida. Horrible. Our nation is heartbroken. We continue to mourn the loss of so many precious, innocent young lives. These are incredible people. I visited a lot of them.
But we'll turn our grief into action. We have to have action. We don't have any action. It happens, a week goes by, ‘Let's keep talking.’ Another week goes by. We keep talking. Two months go by, all of a sudden everybody is off to the next subject. And when it happens again, everybody is angry, and ‘Let's start talking again.’ We've got to stop.
By the way, bump stocks — we're writing that out. I'm writing that out myself. I don't care if Congress does it or not. I'm writing it out myself, okay? You put it into the machine-gun category — which is what it is, it becomes essentially a machine gun, and nobody's going to be able — it's going to be very hard to get them. So we're writing out bump stocks.
But we have to take steps to harden our schools so that they're less vulnerable to attack. This includes allowing well-trained and certified personnel to carry concealed firearms. At some point, you need volume. Now I don't know that a school is going to be able to hire 100 security guards that are armed. Plus, you know, I got to watch some deputy sheriffs perform this weekend. They weren't exactly Medal of Honor winners, all right? The way they performed was, frankly, disgusting. They were listening to what was going on — the one in particular. He was then — he was earlier, and then you had three others that probably a similar deal a little bit later, but a similar kind of a thing. You know, I really believe — you don't know until you test it, but I think — I really believe I'd run into — even if I didn't have a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too, because I know most of you. But the way they performed was really a disgrace.
Second, we must confront the issue of mental health, and here is the best example of mental health. This kid had 39 red flags. They should have known. They did know. They didn't do anything about it. That was really a bad time, I have to tell you. Nobody bigger for law enforcement than I am, but between the people that didn't go into that school and protect those lives and the fact that this should have been solved long before it happened, pretty sad. So we have to confront the issue, and we have to discuss mental health, and we have to do something about it.
You know in the old days we had mental institutions, had a lot of them, and you could nab somebody like this because — you know, they did. They knew he was — something was off. You had to know that. People were calling all over the place. But you used to be able to bring them into a mental institution, and hopefully he gets help or whatever, but he's off the streets. You can't arrest him, I guess, because he hasn't done anything, but you know he's like a boiler ready to explode, right? So he's — he just — you have to do something. But you can't put him in jail, I guess, because he hasn't done anything. But in the old days you'd put him into a mental institutions, and we had them in New York, and our government started closing them because of costs. And we're going to have start talking about mental institutions, because a lot of the folks in this room closed their mental institutions also. So, we have no halfway. We have nothing between a prison and leaving him at his house, which we can't do anymore. So, I think you folks have to start thinking about that.
Third, we have to improve our early-warning response systems, so that when friends, family and neighbors do warn the authorities about a violent or dangerous individual, action is taken quickly and decisively. Look, you had the one mother — if you remember in Connecticut? You saw how horrible that was. She was begging, begging to take her son in and help him do something — anything, he's so dangerous — and nobody really listened to her. And he ended up killing her, and then the rest. You know what happened. It was a horror. But she was begging to do something about her own son. Recently, you had a grandmother that got to see the notes of her grandchild, and she reported him, and they nabbed him. He was ready to go in for a school, it looked like. She reported him. And there the law enforcement did a very good job.
Fourth, we must pursue common-sense measures that protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, while keeping guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others.
And, fifth, we must strive to create a culture in our country that cherishes life and condemns violence and embraces dignity. Now, with all of that, over the weekend, I cannot believe the press didn't find this out. I can't believe it. I think they're getting a little bit — I could never use the word lazy. You don't want to say that. We don't want to give them any more enthusiasm than they already have. But I can't believe they didn't figure this one. Because I had lunch with Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox and David Lehman of the NRA. And I want to tell you, they want to do something. And I said, “Fellows, we've got to do something. It's too long now, where we've got to do something.”
And we're going to do very strong background checks — very strong. We're going to do background checks. If we see a sicko, I don't want him having a gun. And, you know, I know it was a time when anybody could have — I mean, even if they were sick, they were fighting. And I said, “Fellows, we can't do it anymore.”
There's no bigger fan of the Second Amendment than me, and there's no bigger fan of the NRA. And these guys are great patriots. They're great people. And they want to do something. They're going to do something, and they're going to do it, I think, quickly. I think they want to see it. But we don't want to have sick people having the right to have a gun. Plus, when we see somebody's sick like this guy, when the police went to see him, they didn't do a good job. But they have restrictions on what they can do. We've got to give them immediate access to taking those guns away, so that they don't just leave, and he's sitting there with seven different weapons — got to give them immediate access.
Don't worry. You're not going to get any — you won't — don't worry about the NRA. They're on our side. You guys, half of you are so afraid of the NRA; there's nothing to be afraid of. And you know what? If they're not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while. That's okay. They're doing what they think is right. I will tell you, they are doing what they think is right. But sometimes, we're going to have to be very tough, and we're going to have to fight them. But we need strong background checks. For a long period of time, people resisted that. But now people, I think, are really into it.
And John Cornyn — great guy, senator — Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, hopefully, are going to work on some legislation. I hope you guys — they started already. In fact, John has legislation in. We're going to strengthen it. We're going to make it more pertinent to what we're discussing. But he's already started the process. We've already started it.
Many of this — in other words, you'll do a rule, you have to wait 90 days. That's sort of what's happening with the bump stocks. I'm waiting for the next process, but it's gone. Just don't worry about it. It's gone — essentially gone, because we're going to make it so tough that you're not going to be able to get them. Nobody's going to want them anyway.
You know, bump stocks, you shoot rapidly but not accurately. I don't know if you have ever heard what a bump stock does. The bullets come out fast, but you don't know where the hell they're going. That's why nobody even really too much came to its defense. But he used it in Las Vegas. He was using bump stocks in Las Vegas, as you know. So, we're getting rid of them.