Donald Trump has clarified what he said last week about how it would have been a “beautiful sight” if people at the Orlando nightclub had been armed and fired back when 49 people were killed there last weekend.
This is what Trump said at a rally in Houston on Friday: “If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here, right to their waist or right to their ankle and this son of a b**** comes out and starts shooting, and one of the people in the room happened to have it and goes ‘Boom! Boom!’ – you know what? That would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks.”
Trump has insinuated there were no “guns on the other side” during the attack, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
But Adam Gruler, an armed, off-duty Orlando police officer working security at Pulse nightclub that night, traded gunshots with the gunman near the club’s entrance.
Trump’s comment in Houston drew fire from gun safety advocates and, most notably, disagreement from National Rifle Association leaders who said alcohol and guns don’t mix. The NRA endorsed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in May.
“I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking,” NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
LaPierre later tweeted: “I want to clarify my comment: if you’re going to carry, don’t drink. OK to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.”
The NRA’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, also publicly disagreed with Trump’s statement.
“No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms. That defies common sense. It also defies the law,” Cox said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“It’s not what we’re talking about here. What Donald Trump has said is what the American people know is common sense, that if somebody had been there to stop this faster, fewer people would have died. That’s not controversial. That’s common sense.”
Early on Monday, Trump tweeted that he was talking about employees and security guards being armed at the club, not the patrons.
But that’s not what he seemed to be saying at a campaign rally in Phoenix on Saturday.
“If in that club, you had some people — not a lot of people, ‘cause you don’t need a lot of people — but if you had somebody with a gun strapped onto their hip, somebody with a gun strapped onto their ankle and you had bullets going in the opposite direction, right at this animal who did this, you would have had a very, very different result, believe me, folks,” he said.