Donald Trump said Sunday that lives would have been saved if more people had guns at the Oregon community college where a mass shooting took place this past week.
"I can make the case that if there were guns in that room other than [the shooter's], fewer people would have died. Fewer people would have been so horribly injured," Trump said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate rejected the argument that lax gun laws are to blame for the abundance of mass shootings in the United States, noting that cities with strict gun laws, like Chicago and Baltimore, still have high rates of gun violence.
"The strongest, the most stringent laws are in almost every case the worse places," Trump claimed. "It doesn't seem to work."
He acknowledged that the U.S. has a higher rate of school shootings than other countries. But he faulted mental illness and "copycat" behavior that leads troubled individuals to imitate mass shooters, not the availability of guns.
"Guns, no guns, it doesn't matter," he said. "You have people that are mentally ill. And they're gonna come through the cracks."
In fact, people with mental illnesses are no more likely to commit acts of violence than anybody else. They commit just 3 to 5 percent of all violent incidents, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Trump's comments echo those of conservatives who have claimed that Umpqua Community College was a gun-free zone. In fact, the college's ban on firearms and other weapons has a significant exception: In accordance with Oregon state law, students with licenses to carry a concealed gun may do so on campus.
Also on HuffPost: