Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (D) on Sunday dismissed President Donald Trump’s suggestion of adding “armed guards” to houses of worship in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue a day earlier.
Peduto, during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” instead urged Congress to pass stricter gun laws to prevent similar attacks in the future.
“I don’t think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques and churches filled with armed guards or our schools filled with armed guards,” Peduto said. “We should try to stop irrational behavior from happening at the forefront.”
Hours after a gunman opened fire at the synagogue Saturday, killing at least 11 people, Trump told reporters that gun control had “little to do” with the attack.
“If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him,” the president claimed.
Trump has repeatedly called for arming more people in response to mass shootings. After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, Trump suggested “giving concealed guns to adept teachers.”
But Peduto on Sunday threw cold water on Trump’s call for more guns in response to mass shootings.
“We shouldn’t be trying to find ways to minimize the dangers that occur from irrational behavior,” he continued. “We should be working to eliminate irrational behavior and the empowerment of people who would seek to cause this type of carnage from continuing.”
He continued: “I think the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the guns ― which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in America ― out of the hands of those that are looking to express hatred through murder.”
Pittsburgh City Council members Corey O’Connor and Erika Strassburger echoed Peduto’s comments during an appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“That’s not the community we want ― we don’t want people having armed guards in every door you walk into,” O’Connor said. “That’s not the type of community that we want to live in.”
Strassburger added, “Where do we stop with arming our entire society and feeling as if we can’t be safe anywhere? I just don’t see that as the answer.”