President Donald Trump said Monday morning that the Sunday shooting in Texas is a “mental health problem,” signaling that the administration would again be unwilling to pursue gun control measures in the wake of another deadly mass shooting.
“I think that mental health is your problem here. This was a very — based on preliminary reports —very deranged individual. A lot of problems over a long period of time,” Trump said at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when asked about gun control.
“This isn’t a guns situation. I mean we could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. But fortunately somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it would have been, as bad as it was, it would have been much worse,” he continued. “But this is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.”
A gunman on Sunday opened fire in a small church in southern Texas, killing 26 and injuring about 20 others. The alleged shooter, Devin Kelley, who has yet to be officially identified by police, received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force for assaulting his wife and child.
Trump’s comments Monday morning echo his administration’s response to the deadly shooting in Las Vegas in October. Trump at the time focused on the police response to the shooting and the gunman’s mental health issues, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was too early to talk about gun control the day following the shooting.