Donald Trump opposes assault weapons ban: ‘The bad guys are going to have them anyway’
Trump speaks during the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., last month. (Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AP)
Donald Trump doesn’t think an assault weapons ban would help solve America’s gun problem.
“The bad guys are going to have them anyway,” Trump said Tuesday in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.” “What happens when the bad guys have the assault weapons and you don’t in a confrontation?”
As he did over the weekend, the Republican frontrunner again suggested that an armed civilian could’ve stopped last week’s mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where nine people were killed and seven others wounded by a heavily armed gunman.
“You have to believe in the Second Amendment — there’s no choice,” Trump said. “If somebody in that room had a gun, you would not have had … you know, if they knew how to use it, and I assume the answer to that would’ve been yes … you would not have had the catastrophic results you had.”
The real estate mogul, though, didn’t always feel that way. In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” Trump gave his support for stricter gun control measures.
“I generally oppose gun control,” Trump wrote, “but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”
On Tuesday, Trump dismissed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s recent rise in some national polls, calling him “a total lightweight.”
“Take a look at his past. He’s got $12 in the bank,” Trump said. “Rubio is not the guy that’s going to be negotiating with the kinds of people you have to negotiate with to turn this country around.”
But when it comes to the issue of gun control, Trump and Rubio appear to agree that new laws are not the answer.
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday, the Florida senator said stricter gun laws would not have stopped the shooting in Oregon.
“These were not assault rifles.These were handguns that he had purchased,” Rubio said. “The laws that many are proposing would have done nothing to prevent these attacks.”
According to the Associated Press, though, the shooter, 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer, was armed with six guns, including three pistols and “a Del-Ton assault rifle.”
Rubio said such shootings highlight the need to address the country’s mental health system “more seriously, as opposed to stigmatizing it or, in some cases, trying to put it aside.” (According to the New York Times, Harper-Mercer graduated from a high school in Torrance, Calif., that “teaches students with learning disabilities and emotional issues.”)
The Republican candidate also called for a closer look at violence in general.
“What is it that’s leading people in this country who are not mentally ill to do that sort of drive-by shootings and things we’ve seen?“ Rubio asked.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, currently Trump’s closest GOP rival, said he would’ve confronted the Oregon shooter.
“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday. “I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”
In an interview with USA Today, Carson said he would feel "more comfortable” if school security guards and teachers were armed.
“If the teacher was trained in the use of that weapon and had access to it, I would be much more comfortable if they had one than if they didn’t,” he said.
In a Facebook Q&A on Monday, Carson wrote that he had operated on victims of gun violence, “but I never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.”