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Trump Speaks of Need to Address Mental Illness, but Not Guns, in Wake of Florida Shooting

WASHINGTON — President Trump said that more needed to be done to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health” in the wake of another mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 people were killed.

Trump did not address the issue of guns in his short remarks at the White House on Thursday.

“We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” Trump said.

Earlier in the day, in a tweet, Trump called for more people to speak up when they notice signs of a disturbed individual.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem,” he wrote. “Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

In his remarks, Trump said that “yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil.”

“Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families,” he said.

He added, “No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.”

Trump said that he is planning to visit Parkland.

The assailant, Nikolas Cruz, 19, was charged with 17 counts of murder on Thursday. He was a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Authorities said he used an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon in the massacre.

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, did bring up gun safety laws in a Twitter response.

“We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless,” Obama wrote. “Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.”

While Obama and many others called for federal action, there were few indications that the response to the shooting will be any different on Capitol Hill than it was to other mass shootings of recent months. Calls for legislation have been followed by resistance from Republicans to being too hasty about passing gun restrictions.

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