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Trump: Stricter gun laws not needed after Texas shooting

John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

President Donald Trump signaled Monday he would not support legislation to stiffen gun laws after a 26-year-old man killed more than 20 people at a church in Texas on Sunday.

"Mental health is your problem here. This was a very ... deranged individual," Trump said during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He said the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, had "a lot of problems over a long period of time."

"But this isn't a guns situation. ... It's a little bit soon to go into it. Fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise ... it would have been much worse," Trump said, calling the mass murder "a mental health problem at the highest level."

The main topic during their appearance together before U.S. and Japanese reporters was North Korea, which is expected to dominate Trump's first trip to the region as president.

Trump and Abe both struck a tough tone toward North Korea in the standoff over its nuclear arms and long-range missile programs during the U.S. president's visit to the region.

Trump described the North's recent nuclear and missile tests as "dangerous aggressions" and called its weapon programs "unlawful" and its nuclear tests "illegal." The North Korean regime is a "threat to the civilized world" and "international peace and stability," Trump said during a joint press conference.

"We will not stand for that. The era of 'strategic patience' is over," he said several days after one of his top national security advisers signaled any U.S. military action is months away. "Some people said that my rhetoric is very strong. But look what's happened with very weak rhetoric over the last 25 years. Look where we're at right now."

Abe described he and Trump as "together 100 percent" and said he supports the American commander in chief's stance that "all options are on the table." The international community has tried dialogue with the North for decades, but Pyongyang has responded by breaking its own promises to abandon its weapon programs while continuing to develop them in secret.

To counter the North's missiles, Japan intends to buy "massive amounts" of military equipment from the United States, Trump said. He pointed to F-35 fighter jets and "missiles of many different kinds."

"We will be buying more from the United States," Abe said, adding Aegis guided missile system-equipped naval ships to the list.

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