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White House: It Is ‘Premature’ to Talk About Gun Control Laws After Las Vegas

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White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday it was too soon to begin a debate on gun control, less than 24 hours after the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, although she reiterated President Trump’s support for the Second Amendment.

“There’s a time and place for a political debate but now is the time to unite as a country,” Sanders told reporters during the daily briefing Monday, which lasted fifteen minutes. “There’s currently an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation;, a motive has yet to be determined and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t know all the facts or what took place last night.”

Sanders’ comments come one day after a 64-year-old gunman opened fire onto a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel and casino. Authorities said Monday morning that at least 58 people had been killed and at least 500 had been injured, although those numbers are fluid. The White House held a moment of silence after the daily briefing.

She did not rule out the idea that the President could lead a bipartisan solution for gun control, but cautioned that legislators should not work on a bill that would impose restrictions on firearms but fail to stop shootings, using Chicago as an example of such a situation.

“They have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn’t helped there,” she said of Chicago. “I think when the time comes for those conversations to take place I think we need to look at things that may actually have that real impact.”

When President Trump gave remarks from the White House on Monday, he praised law enforcement officers who responded to the attack and offered condolences to the families of the victims, but did not mention anything about gun control. But several Democratic members of Congress have said this shooting highlights the need for more restrictions on buying weapons and machine guns. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to create a Select Committee on Gun Violence to determine a solution to stop shootings like the one that happened Sunday night. “Our words of comfort to the victims of the Las Vegas Massacre will ring hollow unless we take long overdue action to ensure that no other family is forced to endure such an unimaginable tragedy,” she wrote. Congress could vote on a bill that would make it easier to buy silencers as soon as this week.

When asked if she could delineate any view of the President’s on gun control, Sanders simply reiterated that he supports the Second Amendment, which states the right to bear arms. “I don’t have anything further at this point,” Sanders said.



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Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com