Society

Trump: Armed Patrons Would've Stopped Orlando Gunman

| by Nik Bonopartis
Presumptive GOP Nominee Donald TrumpPresumptive GOP Nominee Donald Trump

It took less than a day for presumptive presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to begin using the deaths of 50 people at an Orlando nightclub as a political talking point, with both of them reminding voters where they stand on gun control and combating terrorism.

Trump, who received an enthusiastic endorsement from the National Rifle Association in May, said the June 12 shooting at a gay nightclub would have been mitigated if the victims were able to trade fire with the gunman. The solution, he said, is to have more people armed.

"If you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn't have had the tragedy that you had," the presumptive Republican nominee told CNN on June 12.

Clinton said the shooting proved the need to "redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad." Calling the shooting "an act of hate," the former secretary of state said she's an ally to the LGBT community and will advocate for their right "to live freely, openly and without fear."

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"That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home," Clinton wrote in a statement issued after the attack. "It also means refusing to be intimidated and staying true to our values."

The attack was the worst act of terrorism on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001, in terms of the number of people killed. Gunman Omar Mateen, 29, placed a 911 call just before the attacks in which he pledged fealty to ISIS and spoke about the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, according to CNN.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene, with hundreds of the club's patrons heading for the exits as the sound of gunfire crackled from inside.

Mateen was known to federal law enforcement agencies and was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 for possible terrorist ties, reports CNN, but authorities did not deem him a threat.

Both candidates have speeches about the tragedy planned for June 13. Clinton's speech was slated for 12:30 p.m. ET, while Trump was scheduled to speak at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Clinton aides told CBS the candidate will forgo her usual stump speech at a Cleveland campaign event to "further address this act of terrorism and hate," while the Trump campaign said the businessman will speak about "the serious threats facing all Americans and his solutions for making this country safe again."

Sources: CNN, CBS News, The Hill / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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