As nine families in Roseburg, Oregon struggle to come to terms with the sudden and senseless loss of their loved ones at the hands of a 26-year-old gunman, the political world is figuring out what, if anything, can be done to stop it from happening again.
Out on the campaign trail in Franklin, Tennessee, folks awaiting Donald Trump had all but cemented their position on the issue. Many told NBC news the problem is not guns but mental health and they argued more people, not less, should be carrying firearms.
“They keep hitting the places that have no guns … the crazy people are going to get guns no matter what,” Gayla Pugh, 53, told NBC News as she waited for Trump to take the stage. The sales director said Donald Trump best represented her views arguing, “If we walk around stupid and not protect ourselves, we’re going to keep getting blown out by the crazy people.”
Pugh’s thoughts on the massacre were echoed by Ellen Carter, 70, a school cook who showed up to the rally two hours early to be front and center.
“The person is sick” she said, “you can’t stop them kind [sic]. They will get a gun and that’s why we need guns.”
While many told NBC News they agreed with the idea of background checks, they didn’t trust the Obama administration to legislate the issue, believing the government is trying to find a reason to take their guns away.
David Carter, a 68-year-old public speaker and entrepreneur, argued politicians on the left “would love to make this Australia, where it’s against the law to have a gun.”
Australia outlawed automatic and semi-automatic rifles in 1996, after a 28-year-old mowed down 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle. A resulting gun buyback scheme also saw 640,000 weapons turned in to authorities there. Since then, gun related homicides have fallen 7.5 percent per year, according to one Australian study.
“The reality is you should never get rid of the second amendment,” Carter said.
On stage, Trump read the Second Amendment to a cheering, standing-room-only crowd of 1,540. Speaking about Thursday’s shooting in Oregon, he told the potential voters that the community college where the attack took place was a gun free zone.
“If you had teachers with guns you would’ve been a hell of a lot better off,” Trump said.
The frontrunner even bragged about his conceal carry permit.
“I have a license to carry in New York — can you believe that? Somebody attacks me, they’re gonna be shocked,” the billionaire bellowed.
Since Trump launched his Presidential campaign, NBC News has asked him to comment on at least four headline making mass shootings. After each, he’s been vehement in his support for the Second Amendment.
In a sit-down with me in July after the Charleston Church shooting, he said “these are very, very sick people.”
In a one-on-one with Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press” that will air Sunday, Trump elaborated further, saying “guns, no guns, it doesn’t matter. You have people that are mentally ill and they’re going to come through the cracks.”
The only solution, according to Aaron, a 30-year-old Tennessee cop who didn’t want to give his last name, was for everybody to be armed.
“If you don’t carry a gun, you’re choosing to be a victim,” he said.
This article first appeared on NBCNews.com.