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Shootings can’t be halted, Trump says

Donald Trump spoke at an event Saturday in Franklin, Tenn. Mark Zaleski/AP

NEW YORK — Donald Trump can usually offer up a solution to almost any problem with unflinching confidence. But he sounded uncharacteristically resigned on Sunday when it came to last week’s mass shooting in Oregon, saying such shootings will continue in the United States “no matter what.”

In interviews on the Sunday talk shows, Trump rejected calls from President Obama to pass tougher gun laws, saying they would do nothing to stop an attack like the one that killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

“No matter what you do — guns, no guns, it doesn’t matter — you have people that are mentally ill, and they’re going to come through the cracks, and they’re going to do things that people will not even believe are possible,” Trump said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”


His air of resignation sounded not unlike the reaction of Jeb Bush, a presidential rival Trump has often criticized, who said after the Oregon shooting that “stuff happens” in suggesting that government is not always the solution to problems.

With gun rights under the Second Amendment a core issue among Republicans, the party’s candidates — almost in unison — have roundly rejected what they see as a predictable overreaction to the shooting in the form of tougher gun laws. Trump aligned himself clearly with that position on Sunday as he shrugged aside calls for more restrictions on guns.

“People say, ‘Oh, we’re gonna stop it’ — it doesn’t work that way,” he said in a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Mass gun violence in America “has taken place forever, from the beginning, and it’s going to go on a million years from now,” he said. “You’re going to have problems, and even if you have a very tough system, you’re going to have people who slip through the cracks.”


In the interviews, Trump returned to his customary confidence in attacking the Obama administration’s stance on Syria, the Middle East, and the refugee crisis in the region.

Trump, who is leading in most Republican polls, was particularly critical of the administration’s plan to take in as many as 200,000 refugees fleeing the Syrian crisis, suggesting they could be a threat to security.

“We don’t know where they’re coming from; we don’t know who they are,” he said on ABC. He promised that “if I win, they’re going back.”

He even voiced support for Russia’s recent bombing raids in Syria. Although the White House has criticized the bombings as a misguided attempt by Russia and its leader, President Vladimir Putin, to prop up President Bashar Assad of Syria rather than attack the Islamic State, Trump declared on NBC that “I like that Putin is bombing the hell out of ISIS.”

On Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a run for president, echoed Obama’s call for legislation to limit gun violence. Biden singled out the need to reinstitute background checks and limits on the size of automatic weapons magazines that were rescinded under President George W. Bush.

‘‘This week in Oregon we were shocked once again by senseless gun violence,’’ Biden said, adding that even those Americans who own guns legally overwhelmingly favor background checks.