At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 others injured after a gunman opened fire Sunday night at a country music festival across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said.
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President Trump's spokeswoman, echoing an argument often heard from pro-gun groups and their supporters, on Monday dismissed questions about policy responses to the Las Vegas massacre, saying it is too soon for such talk.
“This is an unspeakable tragedy. Today is a day for consoling of survivors and mourning those we lost," said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. "There is a time and place for political debate but now is a time to unite as a country.”
Sanders did not rule out a gun control discussion, however. She told reporters in response to several questions about gun restrictions that policy issues are "something that we can talk about in the coming days.”
Trump frequently boasts of his support of the 2nd Amendment, and did so just over a week ago at a rally in Huntsville, Ala.
At the briefing, Sanders also warned against creating laws that "won't stop these things from happening" again -- another argument often made by the National Rifle Assn. and other advocates of unregulated guns, who often are on the defensive after mass shootings.
“The only person with blood on their hands is the shooter," Sanders said. "This isn’t a time for us to go after individuals or organizations.”
Trump, however, has a history of weighing in with policy proposals following acts of violence, including on Twitter. In tweets after last year's shooting massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. -- previously the worst gun massacre in U.S. history -- Trump argued for the travel ban against Muslims that he proposed in his presidential campaign.
Sanders dismissed the point. "There's a difference between being a candidate and being the president,” she said.
Sanders was unusually emotional in opening her press briefing, choking up and stifling tears as she recounted anecdotes of victims and heroes, by name, from the Sunday night horror on Las Vegas' famed strip.
The press briefing was followed by a national moment of silence, led on the White House's South Lawn by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Also there were Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, and scores of employees -- from well-known West Wing advisors to kitchen staff members.