At a press conference held the day after a mass shooting in Las Vegas that left at least 58 people dead, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders avoided questions about gun control.
Sanders instead focused on the acts of bravery committed by first responders and those on the ground in Nevada. “What these people did for each other says far more about who we are as Americans than the cowardly acts of a killer ever could,” she said during the briefing, which took place Monday afternoon.
Sanders got emotional talking about the victims of Sunday night’s violence, visibly holding back tears as she spoke about the shooting, which she called “an unimagined act of hate.”
However, when it came down to what the White House plans to do next, Sanders said only that there’s “a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country.”
The press secretary said, “It would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all the facts or what took place last night,” and that the Trump administration wants to avoid creating “laws that won’t stop these types of things from happening.”
The Vegas shooting is already being called one of the deadliest shootings in modern U.S. history. Thomas Gabor, criminologist and author of Confronting Gun Violence in America attributes the rising death toll of such incidents to “deadlier weapons and ammunition.” He notes that assault-style firearms have been the weapons of choice in the recent mass shootings in Orlando, Fla., Sandy Hook, Conn., and San Bernardino, Calif, which had death tolls of 49, 27, and 14, respectively.
Based on current reports, the shooter—a 64-year-old American named Stephen Paddock, with no known ties to terrorist organizations—was likely in possession of either semiautomatic or fully automatic assault weapons.