Former President Trump criticized Democrats for not backing measures to increase security in schools during a Friday address at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting that came days after a teenage gunman armed with an assault weapon killed 19 children and two elementary school teachers in the nation’s latest gruesome mass shooting.
Trump, who is seen as a leading contender to be the GOP’s presidential nominee again in 2024, did not offer support for gun restrictions in his address, instead lambasting Democrats over school safety.
“Whatever our differences may be on other issues, what on earth is stopping Democrats from immediately passing measures to ramp up school security,” Trump said
“How many more tragedies will it take until they agree to set aside their far left political agenda and do what is really needed and actually works,” Trump added.
Democrats are pressing for more restrictions on guns in the wake of the shooting in Texas and another mass shooting a week earlier in Buffalo, N.Y., in which a gunman targeted a Black neighborhood.
A ban on assault weapons expired in 2004 and there has been little traction moving on even narrow measures such as background checks legislation in Congress despite mass shooting after mass shooting.
During his speech, Trump suggested metal detectors, armed guards and single-entry points for schools to combat mass shootings.
Gun control supporters have argued that calls for school security measures and other issues miss the larger issue of guns that links the various mass shootings.
Trump was one of several GOP heavyweights who appeared at the annual meeting, though there were some notable absences.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott offered a video address but did not appear in person so that he could continue with the state’s response to the Texas killings.
Trump took a swipe at those who didn’t show up to the event, though it was not clear who he was speaking about.
“And, unlike some, I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up,” Trump said. “Gotta show up.”