Top officials with the National Rifle Association said they do not support allowing guns in places like nightclubs where people are drinking -- breaking from Donald Trump’s call for just that.
In the wake of the massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Trump said fewer people would have died if more people at the club had had concealed weapons.
"If you had guns in that room, if you had -- even if you had a number of people having them strapped to their ankle or strapped to their waist where bullets could have flown in the other direction right at him, you wouldn't have had that tragedy," Trump said last week.
Essentially, under Trump's scenario, that would have meant more people -- perhaps drunk clubgoers -- shooting blindly into the crowded room.
On Sunday, CBS "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson asked NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre whether he thought Trump's suggestion was "a good idea."
"I don't think you should have firearms where people are drinking," he said. "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."
Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, also said on ABC's "This Week" that he didn't want people at a nightclub shooting guns while drinking:
COX: Of course not. Of course not. And you can't be in a nightclub drinking anywhere in this country. What Donald Trump has said is what the American people know is commonsense, that if somebody had been there to -- to stop this faster, fewer people would have died. That's not -- that's not controversial, that's commonsense.
KARL: But you don't like the idea of people going into nightclub armed to the teeth?
COX: Of course.
COX: No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms. That defies common sense. It also defies the law. It's not what we're talking about here.
However, gun rights groups including the NRA have long pushed for laws allowing people to carry loaded firearms in bars and other places that serve alcohol. When South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed a law in 2014 allowing residents to carry guns in bars and restaurants, she specifically thanked an NRA lobbyist and presented him with a pen for his work on the bill.
Trump was pushing the "good guy with a gun" theory, a favorite of groups like the NRA that want to stop any gun control measures. The argument is that mass shootings can be stopped more quickly if other people have guns and are able to fire back at the shooter. But there was actually a good guy with a gun -- a security officer -- at the Orlando nightclub. That fact did not stop the shooter, as the Los Angeles Times reported:
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said an off-duty police officer working security at the club in uniform traded gunfire with the attacker.
Officials said that after police responded to reports of the violence, the attacker retreated to a bathroom with hostages. Police held back because the attacker made statements about having explosives, they said.