Trump: Background Checks Wouldn't Have Stopped Recent Mass Shootings

President Trump on Sunday claimed that background checks wouldn't have stopped any of America's mass shootings over the past half-dozen years - attributing the phenomenon to mental illness. 

"For the most part, sadly, if you look at the last four or five, even going back further five, six, seven years … as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it," Trump told reporters at the start of a briefing on Hurricane Dorian, adding "It’s a big problem. It’s a mental problem, it’s a big problem."

Seven people were killed in West Texas on Saturday after a gunman embarked on a shooting rampage that ended in the parking lot of a movie theater in Odessa. The dead range in age from 15 to 57, while a 17-month-old toddler was among the injured. 

The gunman, believed to be working alone, was shot and killed by the police. He had been using an AR-style weapon, which are used in less than 3% of homicides nationwide

"It would be wonderful to say — to say ‘eliminate,’ but we want to substantially reduce the violent crime — and actually, in any form," Trump added at the beginning of the Dorian briefing. "This includes strong measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous and deranged individuals, and substantial reforms to our nation's broken mental health system."

"To reduce violence, we must also ensure that criminals with guns are put behind bars and kept off the streets."

Following last month's shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Trump called on Congress to discuss "meaningful background checks" for firearms purchases. He also called for changes to mental health laws

"Serious discussions are taking place between House and Senate leadership on meaningful Background Checks," Trump tweeted after the August shootings. "I have also been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected."

In the aftermath of the shootings, Democrat politicians wasted no time capitalizing - with 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke announcing that if he's elected, he will confiscate semi-automatic firearms from law-abiding Americans. 

O'Rourke has also discovered that he can drop F-bombs on CNN and elsewhere and nobody seems to be stopping him. 

2020 dropout Eric Swalwell - who joked about nuking gun owners - mocked Texans for not stopping the mass shooting.