Trump deflects gun violence, compares London to 'war zone'

NRA Executive Director Chris Cox and Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne La Pierre welcome President Donald Trump onstage to deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum at the Georgia Worl

Addressing the issue of school shooting Trump expressed the view that "nothing attracts terrorists more than a sign that says this school is a gun free zone" and repeated a claim he made previously that only men and women armed with guns could protect civilians from terrorists and criminals.

Trump's message appeared in contrast with his comments during a televised meeting on gun control with lawmakers in late February, in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in Florida. "Like it or not, we don't care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you are supported by the NRA, you don't stand with kids, you stand with the gun manufacturers and people making money off this fear and tragedy that's perpetrating itself".

Trump spoke at the NRA meeting for the third year in a row on Friday, delivering an impassioned defense of the Second Amendment and praising the NRA as a "great organization".

"We mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve", the vice president said.

"The NRA convention is like Comic-Con, you only really get the die-hard fans", he continued. His gun comments were woven into a campaign-style speech that touched on the Russian Federation probe, the 2016 campaign, his efforts in North Korea and Iran and his fight against illegal immigration. "My problem is with the NRA and how they are the gun lobby that has bought off our government and therefore threatened our democracy and our safety as American people, and our children's safety".

The comments from Trump came the week after President Emmanuel Macron visited Washington as the guest of honour for a state visit which saw both the leaders eager to stress their friendship. "So I don't necessarily think Trump is scared of the NRA, I think Trump is very enamored with the financial support that the NRA gives him".

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David Hogg, another Parkland shooting survivor and student activist, responded on Twitter.

"The quickest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun", Pence said Friday, echoing a favorite NRA slogan. "But the average members of the NRA, they don't agree with Trump's stance on guns. It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun, but I can get this weapon at 18".

Those words rattled some Republicans in Congress and sparked hope among gun-control advocates that, unlike after previous mass shootings, tougher regulations might be enacted.

Trump has also encouraged states to pass so-called "red flag" laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from people judged to be a threat to themselves or others.

Trump said he had been warned by political advisers that appearing before the NRA might not be popular in the current climate.

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