Gun control advocates pushed back on Tuesday against President Donald Trump's claim that stricter gun regulations would have led to "hundreds more dead" in Sunday's shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
On Sunday, Devin Patrick Kelley massacred 26 people—half of them children—using an AR-15 assault rifle while they worshiped at the local First Baptist Church. After Kelley went outside he exchanged gunfire with a neighbor, who then chased him from the scene.
In a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, the president chastised a reporter for daring to bring up the shooting before reluctantly answering her question about whether he would consider any legislation to make it harder for people to buy guns, in light of two of the nation's deadliest mass shootings taking place in a span of five weeks.
Trump on civilian who intervened in Texas shooting: "If he didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more." pic.twitter.com/K67H8HpF9J— CNN (@CNN) November 7, 2017
"If [the neighbor] didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead," Trump claimed, "you would have had hundreds more dead.”
The notion that "good guys with guns" are a necessary feature of society in order to keep citizens safe has been aggressively pushed by the National Rifle Association and parroted by Trump and other Republicans for years, despite a mountain of evidence that countries with less gun ownership experience far fewer shootings.
As has become customary after a mass killing, news outlets including the New York Times have published reports this week showing the clear correlation between the prevalence of firearms in the U.S. and that of shootings in churches, schools, and other public places. With six times as many guns as any other nation, the U.S. has experienced more than 90 mass shootings in the past five decades, while no other country has had more than 18.
On social media, a number of critics expressed a lack of patience with Trump's perfunctory use of the NRA's talking point—one that has become as predictable as mass shootings themselves.
If the shooter was in fact stopped by an armed citizen what you are saying is 26 dead people is a successful version of your plan.— Timothy Simons (@timothycsimons) November 6, 2017
BREAKING—Trump says “hundreds” would’ve died if Texas shooter wasn’t stopped by an armed man.— Splinter (@splinter_news) November 7, 2017
This myth must end. https://t.co/ONcH8qgpID