Trump Unknowingly Makes A Case For Gun Control In This Tweet

by Seth Millstein
Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It's not a surprise that President Trump responded to the recent attacks in London by firing off a series of inappropriate tweets. In one of them, he observed that "we are not having a gun debate right now," because the attackers "used knives and truck." There are several issues with this tweet, and shortly after Trump sent it, former Rep. Gabby Giffords explained why Trump's gun control tweet was ill-advised and inaccurate.

"Mr. President, every day we are having a gun debate because every day 90 people in our country die from gun violence," wrote Giffords, who became a vocal proponent of stronger gun laws after miraculously surviving a gunshot to the head in 2011. "Many of them are kids."

This is an important point. Although gun violence comes and goes as a hot-button political issue, it's not a problem that only flares up once in a while during high-profile attacks. Forty eight children and teens are shot in the United States, every day, according to the Brady Campaign. Gun violence kills around 33,880 people in the country every year; that's roughly 11 times the number of Americans who were killed by terrorists between 1975 and 2015, according to the Cato Institute. It's a perpetual, ongoing problem in America, one that claims lives every day, and deserves to be treated as such.

In addition to being flawed from a practical standpoint, Trump's tweet also commits a basic logical error. An opponent of gun regulations, Trump was attempting to point out that stronger gun laws wouldn't have prevented this attack, as the attackers didn't use guns. But this is likely because the United Kingdom has very strict gun control laws — crucially, the country has no equivalent of the Second Amendment— and if it didn't, the death toll almost certainly would have been much higher. Although he didn't intend to, Trump made a good, if somewhat obvious, argument in favor of stronger gun regulations.

That wasn't the only tweet Trump sent in the aftermath of the attack, however. First, without offering any condolences to the victims, the president used the occasion to plug his "Travel Ban" (capitalization his), even though that policy, of course, would not have applied to the United Kingdom. Later, he accused London Mayor Sadiq Khan of saying there was "no reason to be alarmed" at the attack; what Khan actually told his constituents is that there was no reason to be alarmed by the increased police presence in the aftermath of the attack.

Seven people were killed in the London attacks on Saturday. Police have since carried out raids in east London and arrested 12 people suspected of being connected to the attacks.