GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Thursday that America’s problem with gun violence stems from mental illness rather than the availability of firearms.
“Mental illness is a massive problem,” Trump told host Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day” one day after a gunman killed a reporter and videographer on live TV in southwest Virginia.
“This isn’t a gun problem, it’s a mental health problem,” he said. “You’re not going to get rid of all guns.
“It’s becoming a very dangerous situation,” Trump added. “It’s a very sad commentary on life, frankly.”
Trump’s remarks follow the on-air shooting of WDBJ7 report Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, on Wednesday morning.
Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, a former colleague, shot and killed both television journalists before later fatally shooting himself.
Trump argued on Thursday that Flanagan’s actions are likely the result of severe and untreated mental illness.
“There was tremendous hatred, tremendous animosity,” he said of the shooter. “This gentleman was a disaster to the public.
“People see the signals, but figure it will never happen,” Trump added. “In the old days, we had mental institutions for people like this.”
Trump then charged that, despite his disgust with incidents like Wednesday’s shooting, he still supports gun rights for everything from recreation to safety.