Trump won't pledge gun law fixes after Texas church shooting

"Mental health is your problem here," Trump told reporters in the aftermath of the Texas church shooting

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 6, 2017 8:10AM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
(AP Photo/Darren Abate)

When faced with questions about the shooting in a Texas church, President Donald Trump took the easy way out — and avoided talking meaningful policy.

"Mental health is your problem here," Trump told reporters on Monday at a joint news conference in Tokyo. He also said that "based on preliminary reports" it appeared that the perpetrator was "a very deranged individual."

Trump added, "This isn't a guns situation. This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It's a very, very sad event."

Texas has some of the most lax gun laws in the country. In addition to reducing application fees from $140 to $40 earlier this year, Texas law allows licensed college students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, licensed gun owners in general to carry weapons in open public spaces and carry weapons into businesses that earn less than half of their revenue from alcohol.

At least 27 people died in Sunday's shooting, which authorities believe was perpetrated by a 26-year-old man named Devin Patrick Kelley. The shooting occurred at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs and has become the fourth deadliest shooting in American history.

Texas officials are resigned to the fact that there will be more shootings.

"All I can say is in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have conceal carry. And so . . . there's always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people," Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told reporters on Sunday.

He added, "You can't necessarily keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to violate the law. If someone is willing to kill someone, they're also going to be willing to violate a gun law."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Devin Patrick Kelley Donald Trump Ken Paxton Texas Texas Church Shooting