Speaking from The White House, President Donald Trump addressed the deadly school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead and 14 others injured. While Trump chose to focus on the issue of mental health, his remarks sparked others to call for more sensible gun control laws.
Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect in the shooting, was arrested and charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder after opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday. According to authorities, Cruz was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifle.
“We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” Trump said. “Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, [and] making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority.”
Many across social media quickly slammed Trump for his seemingly empty words. POTUS had quietly reversed Obama-era gun regulations that made it more difficult for people with mental illness to obtain firearms, as reported by NBC News in February. The law, finalized in December, added those who receive Social Security checks for mental illness or are considered unfit to handle their finances to the national background check database.
“Listening to @realDonaldTrump attempting to be sincere is painful,” American Horror Story actor Denis O’Hare tweeted. “We have no leader in this country. No one to inspire us. No one to comfort us. No one to govern.”
“Our entire nation with one heavy heart is praying for the victims and their families,” Trump said. “To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family and your suffering is our burden also. No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons or daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.”
Prior to his address, former-President Barack Obama joined the chorus advocating for gun control. “We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless,” Obama tweeted. “Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.”
Trump said he plans to visit with “families and local officials” in Parkland “and to continue coordinating the federal response.”
“In these moments of heartache and darkness,” he added, “we hold onto God’s word in scripture. ‘I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you.’ We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans and their time of sorrow.”
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