Trump, Clinton, react to Orlando shooting

If elected, Clinton said she would push for laws that prevent people on America's no-fly list from buying weapons

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia. (AP photos)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia. (AP photos)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Donald Trump says “terrible intelligence-gathering” is hampering efforts to protect the United States.

“This is a case of surveillance,” he said on CNN. “You will find that many people that knew him (the Orlando shooter) felt that he was a whack job.”

A gunman identified as Omar Mateen opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday, killing 49 people before dying in a police shootout.

Trump also said in a phone-interview with NBC’s “Today” show that he would not support a ban on the sale of assault-style rifles in the wake of the weekend massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

He told the network “there are millions” of such weapons already in circulation and said he didn’t think instituting a ban would help.

“Absolutely, I wouldn’t” support such a prohibition, the real estate mogul said, “because people need protection.”

He said a ban essentially would mean “the bad guys would have assault rifles and the people needing protection will be standing there with BB guns.”

Trump harshly criticized President Barack Obama for referring Sunday to a “terror” attack without going further. “He’s not calling it what it is,” Trump said. “This is radical Islamic terrorism. He doesn’t want to properly describe it. And if you don’t want to discuss it and describe it, you’re not going to solve the problem.”

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, says the United States shouldn’t fall into the “trap set by the gun lobby” that suggests if you can’t stop all shootings, you don’t try to stop any.

If elected, Clinton said she would push for laws that prevent people on America’s no-fly list from buying weapons. She also wants tougher restrictions on “weapons of war,” like the assault-style rifles used in Orlando and San Bernardino, California.

Clinton said she would also set up a federal team dedicated exclusively to addressing “lone wolf” attacks and work closer with technology companies to prevent “online radicalization.”

Clinton made her remarks on NBC “Today” and CBS “This Morning.”

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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