Oregon shooting: Trump invokes vigilante film Death Wish

Republican frontrunner says students and instructors should have been armed

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Saturday channelled the 1970s action star Charles Bronson in defending second amendment rights in the aftermath of the shooting at an Oregon community college that left nine people and the shooter dead.

Mr Trump said in a rally in suburban Nashville that he has a handgun carry permit in New York. He added that any attacker would be “shocked” if he tried to assault him, because he would emulate Bronson in the vigilante film Death Wish.

Mr Trump criticized “gun-free zones”, saying that the Oregon shootings could have been limited if instructors or students at Umpqua Community College had been armed. He said better mental health care would help curb future shootings.

“Many states and many cities are closing their mental health facilities and closing them down, and they’re closing them because they don’t have the funding,” he said. “And we have to start looking much stronger into mental health.”


While Mr Trump warned that “no matter what you do, you will always have problems”, he argued that it doesn’t make sense to limit access to firearms.

“It’s not the guns,” Mr Trump said during his hour-long speech. “It’s the people, it’s these sick people.”

He also criticized president Barack Obama’s comments in response to the shootings as “divisive”.

Mr Trump's positions on gun control have evolved significantly over the years. While he now touts the National Rifle Association line, he once backed the ban on assault weapons and longer waiting periods for gun purchases.

“I’m a very, very big second amendment person,” Mr Trump said on Saturday. “This is about self-defence, plain and simple.”

Mr Trump reminisced about Bronson’s Death Wish and got people in the crowd to shout out the title of the 1974 film in unison. In the movie, an affluent, liberal architect embarks on a vigilante mission after his life is shattered by thugs who kill his wife and rape his daughter.

“Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct,” Mr Trump said.

Saturday marked the second time Mr Trump had spoken in the Nashville area in five weeks. Tennessee is among the states holding their primaries on March 1st, also called Super Tuesday, and he noted that his comments brought a strong response from the overflow crowd in gun-friendly Tennessee.

“As soon as I mentioned it the place went absolutely wild,” he said.