Donald Trump clarified his stance Monday on who at nightclubs should have firearms after he originally appeared to suggest that Orlando victims could have stopped the gunman if they were armed, causing top National Rifle Association officials to distance themselves from the GOP presumptive nominee.
“When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees,” Trump tweeted.
Top NRA leaders split Sunday with Trump’s earlier position that armed club-goers are a good idea.
“I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking,” said Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s chief executive officer said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But I will tell you this. Everybody, every American starts to have – needs to start having a security plan. We need to be able to protect ourselves, because they’re coming. And they’re going for vulnerable spots, and this country needs to realize it.”
NRA lobbyist Chris Cox told ABC’s “This Week”: “No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms. That defies commonsense. It also defies the law. It’s not what we’re talking about here.”
Trump had said Friday at a rally that armed club-goers shooting Omar Mateen “would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight.”
“If we had people, where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac,” Trump said, gesturing between his eyes. “And this son of a b—- comes out and starts shooting and one of the people in that room happened to have (a gun) and goes boom. You know what, that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks.”
LaPierre later tweeted: “I want to clarify my comment: if you’re going to carry, don’t drink. OK to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.”
The latest split comes as Trump has requested a meeting with NRA leaders to discuss banning gun sales to people on the federal terror watch list and no-fly list.
LaPierre also said Sunday that banning sales to those on the watch list would not have had any effect in Orlando because Omar Mateen had already been removed from the list.
“NRA didn’t take the guy’s name off the list. The federal government did, FBI did, largely because of these some politically correct policies that I think I have been talking about earlier,” LaPierre said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The NRA’s push comes as senators prepare to vote on a series of measures which would limit sales to suspected terrorists. Opponents of the measures argue that federal watch lists are wrought with errors and could deprive citizens of their constitutional right to bear arms.
“The problem is, you have got indications on this list of people who might be involved in terrorism,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “And we need to keep a list of that, need to do the best we can to monitor those people, so that they don’t become an active terrorist person. But a lot of people may be wrongly on the list. In fact, I’m sure there are a lot of people on that list that shouldn’t be on it.”