Days after a mass school shooting in Texas, former United States (US) President Donald Trump on Friday, 27 May, slammed calls for tightening gun control laws in the country, saying that decent Americans should have the right to carry firearms to defend themselves against "evil."
"The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens. The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens," Trump said while addressing members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
He also added that the various gun control policies "pushed by the Left" would have done "absolutely nothing" to prevent the "horror" that took place.
Trump Calls for Security Overhaul in Schools
The former US president also read out the names of the 19 school children who were killed amid the shooting, saying that they were victims of a "lunatic." However, he added that policies to curb the current gun laws in the country were "grotesque" and called for a security overhaul in schools.
"All of us must unite, Republican and Democrat – in every state, and at every level of government – to finally harden our schools and protect our children. What we need now is a top-to-bottom security overhaul at schools across this country," Trump said.
Several speakers, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott, had withdrawn their participation from the NRA's "Leadership Forum" after the mass shooting on 24 May, but the former president said on Wednesday that he would attend nonetheless.
The NRA, one of the most powerful gun rights organisations in the US, has repeatedly rejected policies to curb gun laws in the country, such as thorough background checks on the purchase of weapons.
Republican leaders in the country, instead of endorsing tight gun laws, have called for "hardening" schools with tight security, with armed guards at single entry and exit points.
The recent case of gun violence at a school comes on the heels of a grocery store shooting that took place on 14 May when 10 elderly Black people in Buffalo, New York, were killed in what is now being described as a "racist attack."
(With inputs from AFP.)