Donald Trump said Monday morning that he would not ban assault rifles because there are already “millions” of guns out there and people “need protection.”
Appearing on the “Today” show in the wake of the Orlando terror attack, the deadliest shooting in US history, Trump was asked if he would consider a ban on assault rifles.
The presumptive Republican nominee said he “absolutely wouldn’t.”
“There are millions of them already out there, millions upon millions, so they’re already out there,” Trump said. “People need protection. They have to protect. So the bad guys will have the assault rifles and the people trying to protect themselves will be standing there with a BB gun.”
His statement represented a reversal in position on assault weapons. Trump said in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” that while he generally opposes gun control, he did “support the ban on assault weapons” and “a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” according to Politifact.
The identified gunman in the Orlando shooting, who pledged allegiance to ISIS during the attack, used an AR-15-type rifle to shoot dead 49 individuals at an LGBTQ nightclub. Such firearms are legal for civilians to purchase in the US.
Trump slammed President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Sunday, saying US leadership is “weak and ineffective” and calling on Obama and Clinton to use the phrase “radical Islamic terror.”