Trump blames mass shootings on 'crazy people,' wants more mental institutions

Grant Boone
August 19, 2019

"And people have to start thinking about it", Trump said ahead of his campaign rally in New Hampshire. He narrowly lost the state to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Two senior Senate Democrats on Wednesday asked President Donald Trump to withdraw his $5 billion request for border wall funding and use the money on initiatives to combat gun violence in the aftermath of back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett was at the president's latest campaign rally.

Trump's comments come after back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and OH left 31 people dead and dozens more injured. On Tuesday, he claimed that many Republicans support his push for strengthening background checks on gun sales - a view that appears at odds with what lawmakers are telling the President in private.

Trump said he was giving "major consideration to building new facilities for those in need" and "taking mentally deranged and risky people off the streets". He's been encouraged by some aides, including daughter Ivanka, to press on background checks. "It's not the gun that pulls the trigger - it's the person holding the gun", Trump said to roars and a standing ovation from the Manchester, N.H., crowd. The gun doesn't pull the trigger.

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"I've been speaking to everybody about it and we don't want to see insane people owning guns, but I also want to remember that mental illness is something nobody wants to talk about", he said.

However, others calling for the return of institutions have pointed to the relative inability of people within the community to care for those with severe forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia.

Among Democrats, 87 percent blamed Trump to some degree, along with 50 percent of independent voters, but even among Republicans, more than one in five laid some of the blame for mass shootings at Trump's feet.

"Basically, it's very simple".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has rebuffed calls from Democrats to end the August recess early and call senators back to tackle gun violence. "Republicans agree with me on that. pretty much uniformly", he said. Support for universal background checks remained high at 90 percent, but support for an assault weapons ban jumped seven points from the last time Fox polled the question, from 60 percent in April to 67 percent in the new poll.

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