The mayor of Pittsburgh on Sunday called for guns to be taken away from potential hate criminals, rather than assigning armed guards to houses of worship as suggested by US President Donald Trump after 11 people were shot dead at a synagogue in the Pennsylvania city on Saturday.
“I don’t think the answer to this problem is having our synagogues, mosques, and churches filled with armed guards, or schools filled with armed guards,” Mayor Bill Peduto told press during a news conference, a day after the shooting.
“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,” he said.
Armed with a rifle and three handguns, Robert Bowers walked inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh during Saturday morning worship and began shooting, killing 11 and wounding six before police took him into custody.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto: "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." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/2ibYMQIK5U
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) October 28, 2018
Trump said the outcome of the shooting “would have been far better” if the synagogue had more armed protection inside.
“This is a case where if they had an armed guard inside, they might have been able to stop him immediately,” Trump told reporters just hours after the shooting. “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.”
He added: “Maybe there would have been nobody killed, except for him, frankly.”
Bowers had traded gunfire with police and was shot multiple times but survived.
He was charged late Saturday with 29 federal counts, including using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence, obstructing exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, obstructing exercise of religious beliefs resulting in an injury to a public safety officer and using a firearm during a crime of violence.
The 11 victims of the shooting were confirmed Sunday as Joyce Feinberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.