Just a few minutes ago, President Donald Trump gave a press conference at the White House about last night’s mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that left more than 50 people dead and 500 injured. In it, he set aside the very weird phrasing of a tweet earlier this morning that extended “warmest condolences” to the victims, instead offering up that most effective of policy initiatives: prayers.
“My fellow Americans, we are joined here today is sadness, shock, and grief,” Trump began, describing shooter Stephen Paddock as a “gunman” who “brutally murdered” innocent people. (The words “domestic terrorist” were not invoked.) “It was an act of pure evil,” he said. Trump added that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security would join local law enforcement in their investigation of the attack, before thanking the first responders who rushed to the scene last night. “It shows what true professionalism is all about,” he said.
Speaking to the “hundreds of our fellow citizens who are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one,” Trump said the nation was praying for them, and said, “we ask God to help see you through this very dark period,” setting a religious tone that continued throughout the message. The wounded were similarly offered prayers, and “faith, family, and values” were invoked as Trump called for unity, saying,“in moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one, and it always has.” He added:
Although we feel great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today, and always will, forever. In times like these I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy.
Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina is currently pushing to pass a bill known as the “Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act,” or SHARE Act, which, among other pro-gun provisions, would make it easier to buy gun silencers by eliminating waiting periods, fingerprint and photograph requirements, a federal registry of buyers, and a $200 transfer tax. The SHARE act is strongly supported by the NRA.