The NRA’s top lobbyist said no one should go into a nightclub “drinking and carrying firearms” when asked about Donald Trump’s comments about whether armed club-goers may have prevented the Orlando nightclub shooting, and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre echoed those remarks in a separate interview.
At a rally on Friday, the presumptive Republican nominee said the massacre would have been prevented if some of the victims had been armed.
“If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here — right to their waist or right to their ankle — and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes ‘boom, boom,’ you know, that would have been a beautiful sight folks,” Trump said.
“What Donald Trump has said is what the American people know as common sense: If somebody had been there to stop this faster, fewer people would have died,” Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said on ABC’s “This Week.”
When pressed, Cox said people drinking alcohol at a nightclub shouldn’t be armed.
“No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms,” he said. “That defies common sense. It also defies the law.”
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” LaPierre also said he doesn’t think armed club-goers is a good idea.
“I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking,” LaPierre 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.”
He later tweeted to “clarify” his statement, saying, “If you’re going to carry, don’t drink.”
Trump’s comments were in contrast to what President Obama during his visit to Orlando on Thursday.
“The notion that the answer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more people in a nightclub are similarly armed to the killer defies common sense,” Obama said.
Cox, however, also maintained that bans on assault-style firearms in Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino failed to prevent terror attacks. He said any future such bans in the U.S. would also be ineffective.
Trump this week also took a position slightly different from many other Republicans, saying he will talk to the NRA about not allowing people on federal terror watch lists to buy guns.
“Due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watch list to be removed,” the NRA statement says.
However, the NRA’s Cox said on “This Week,” “There is not a difference between what Mr. Trump is saying and what the NRA’s position is.”
The Senate is set to take up four gun control measures Monday, after Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, staged a near 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor this week. The Connecticut senator on Sunday continued to demand gun restrictions.
“We should be making our gun laws less full of Swiss cheese holes so that future killings don’t happen,” Murphy said.
The Senate is preparing to vote on gun control proposals tomorrow, but there is little hope they will pass.
“I admit that the background checks bill is going to be tough to get 60 votes on,” Murphy said. “But we still have hope we can get Republicans to support the bill stopping terrorists from getting weapons.”
Murphy said that if proposals currently on the table had already been in place they “may have stopped the [Orlando] shooting.”
“I’m still hopeful we’re going to be able get votes,” he said.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect further comments from NRA officials.