Trump reacts to Florida shooting, makes no specific reference to gun laws

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U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. Reuters/Kay Nietfeld,Pool

US President Donald Trump delivered a seven-minute speech at the White House on Thursday following a recent mass shooting at a Florida high school, saying he will work with state and local leaders “to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” The POTUS made no mention of gun laws.

Trump announced that he would visit Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed this week in the deadliest school shooting in years. He is expected to meet with the families of victims.

The US president urged Americans to answer "hate with love" and "cruelty with kindness."

"We are all joined together as one American family and your suffering is our burden also," he said, assuring federal help to the Florida community reeling from the slayings.

In his speech, Trump made no specific reference to gun laws amid accusations that the commander-in-chief and the Republicans are not doing enough to curb gun violence.

Trump had earlier taken to Twitter to send condolences to the families of the victims in the hours after the shooting. His aides reportedly encouraged him to make a public statement.

There have been calls for further restrictions on guns. The POTUS previously approved the removal of a regulation intended to prevent people with mental disabilities from buying guns, The New York Times notes. 

Trump stressed the need for Americans to report the behaviour of “mentally disturbed” people to authorities, noting the Florida school shooting incident as an example. He said there were so many signs that the gunman, who was expelled from school, was mentally disturbed. Neighbours and classmates, Trump noted, knew he was a big problem. “Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” he tweeted.

It is not the first time Trump emphasised the importance of mental health. In November, after a shooter murdered dozens of parishioners in a church, he told reporters that the shooting signified “a mental health problem at the highest level.” He believes that the problem “isn’t a guns situation.”

In October, after a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas, Trump described the shooter as “a very sick man.”

The recent shooting incident on Wednesday was the deadliest school shooting since a gunman opened fire and killed 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.

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