Even amid criticism that his remarks are callous, Dr. Ben Carson doubled down on his argument that victims of mass shootings should directly combat gunmen.
“I want to plant in people’s minds what to do in a situation like this because unfortunately this is probably not going to be the last time this happens,” Carson said of his controversial remarks.
The Republican presidential contender, who is coming in second behind Donald Trump in national polls, has drawn fire for inflammatory, far-right rhetoric expressed in the wake of a deadly shooting at an Oregon college that left 10 dead, including the shooter, and inured another nine. Shortly after the tragic incident, Carson suggested that enacting gun control is the worst thing America could do to prevent the gun violence that has left thousands dead over the last decade.
Carson argued that the victims of the Oregon shooting didn’t challenge the shooter. However, one of the victims — an army veteran named Chris Mintz — did just that, and was shot seven times as a result. He remains in the hospital recovering. Asked about Mintz, Carson said it “verifies what I’m saying” and is “what should be done.”
Carson argued that the criticism of his remarks was “sort of an immature attitude."
“In medicine, we have a tendency to make decisions based on evidence, not on ideology, so let's say this were a disease, we would say let's take each of these shooters and study their lives and see commonalities, are there early warning signals so we can intervene early,” he said, arguing for mental health reform to prevent such mass shootings.
Carson added that the government should try and keep guns out of the hands of those who have been declared “dangerous individuals by professionals” — as long as it doesn’t “compromise the Second Amendment.” On Monday, he also advocated for arming kindergarten teachers and having armed guards in schools.
The candidate continued to argue that guns — even military grade weapons — are necessary for the people to resist government by force if necessary. This argument is at its root the most conservative defense of the Second Amendment and is predicated on the idea that government is tyrannical.
“American citizens have been armed for hundreds of years and they have been free for hundreds of years,” Carson wrote in his book “A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties,” which was published Tuesday.