Trump blames mass shootings on mentally ill, calls for more mental institutions

Enlarge this image

Enlarge this image

His comments came as he started a trip from New Jersey to speak to a campaign rally in New Hampshire.

"These people are mentally ill". The people were just allowed to go onto the streets.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, he claimed those involved in recent mass shootings in OH and Texas were mentally ill, and said he and fellow Republicans had discussed America's recurring problems with gun violence.

"That was a awful thing for our country", he said, referring to de-institutionalization of the mentally ill. A lot of our conversation has to do with the fact that we have to open up institutions.

The emphasis on mental illness - an approach favored by pro-gun groups - marked a slight change from earlier this week.

"Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying. this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform", Trump tweeted just after the deadly attacks, which happened within a 24-hour span.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters estimated at around 12,000 in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump did not once mention his efforts to push for background checks on would-be gun purchasers.

But others - including those with more experience dealing with Washington Republicans - have appeared skeptical. And an ever-nearing reelection campaign, when support from a gun-loving base will be essential, is likely to weigh on Trump's thinking.

Mr Trump is the latest US President under pressure to curb gun violence following mass shootings that killed dozens of people this month in Texas and Ohio.

On Thursday, Trump declined to say whether he supports universal background checks.

"It's the person that pulls the trigger". You know, it's them, they pull the trigger. "These people are mentally ill and we need to study that also".

Among Democrats, 87 percent blamed Trump to some degree, along with 50 percent of independent voters, but even among Republicans, more than one in five laid some of the blame for mass shootings at Trump's feet.

"Basically, it's very simple".

President Trump said Tuesday that he supports requiring "intelligence background checks" for gun purchases and said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, is "totally on board".

Trump said he fears Democrats would try to add to the legislation in an unrealistic way, stopping the bill in its tracks.