Parents of children murdered in knife and gun attacks on British streets have condemned Donald Trump for claiming that the right to bear arms could help tackle gang violence in the UK.
The US president claimed that knife crime in London was so bad that a hospital ward was like a “war zone” due to stab wounds.
He told the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Texas, that because Britain has “unbelievably tough gun laws” there was “blood all over the floors” from knife attacks in one of the capital’s emergency wards.
It appears Mr Trump may have been referring to comments by Martin Griffiths, a surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, who likened an emergency ward there to an Afghan war zone due to the number of victims of knife attacks.
The surgeon responded to Mr Trump on Twitter with an image suggesting the president had missed the point, adding that he was “happy to invite Mr Trump to my prestigious hospital … to discuss our successes in violence reduction in London.”
Meanwhile, Professor Karim Brohi, a trauma surgeon at The Royal London Hospital and Director of London’s major trauma system, said hospital staff were proud of the “excellent trauma care” they provide, adding that it was “ridiculous” for the president to suggest guns could be part of the solution.
“The Royal London Hospital has cut the number of our young patients returning after further knife attacks from 45 percent to 1 percent. There is more we can all do to combat this violence, but to suggest guns are part of the solution is ridiculous. Gunshot wounds are at least twice as lethal as knife injuries and more difficult to repair.”
Bhupinder Iffat Rizvi, whose 20-year-old daughter, Sabina, was shot dead in Kent in 2003 after being caught up in a dispute about a car, said she was “horrified and offended” by Mr Trump’s comments.
“I found his speech very, very offensive,” she said. “Since he made it I’ve had calls from other mother and fathers affected by knife and gun crime.
“Mr Trump may be a businessman, and the US does see guns as big business and money is important to them, but we are mothers and have lost our children to violence.
“Is he really suggesting we should legalise guns? I couldn’t believe it. Is he really saying people should pick up a gun and go and shoot someone they are in dispute with, and they can try to shoot you back?
“He needs to look at his own hometowns where young people are standing up against gun ownership. They don’t want to be put in a situation where they are being shot at in schools.”
Caroline Shearer, from Essex who set up Only Cowards, Carry after her son Jay Whiston, 17, was murdered at a Colchester house party in September 2012, said that the last thing Britain needed was to follow America’s example where “nutcases” carry guns.
“We have enough of a problem with knife crime,” she said. “We don’t need a new problem with gun crime. That’s the last thing we need. We have got enough nutcases running around with knives. Can you imagine what it would be like if they had guns?
“We must not go down that route otherwise we are heading for even more of a disaster.”
However, Mrs Shearer agreed with the president that knife crime was out of control and hospitals and police were bearing the brunt of the crisis.
“Our wards in our hospitals are not just seeing two or three stabbings a night. They are seeing many, many more. It is so out of hand.”
Lynne Booker, who son Terry, 19, was stabbed to death in 2000, said she disagreed with Mr Trump’s suggestion that guns could be part of the solution to the menace of knife crime.
“We are trying to get dangerous weapons off the streets, not put more on with guns,” she said.
Patrick Green, chief executive of The Ben Kinsella Trust, an organisation set up to tackle knife crime after schoolboy Ben Kinsella was murdered in 2008, said the president’s suggestion that escalating the weaponry would help tackle knife crime was “absurd”.
“Clearly, I disagree strongly with the president’s sentiments,” he said. “We know violence breeds violence. Blood will lead to blood.
“The president, in my opinion, has missed the point in what we are trying to do in the UK. We need to tackle knife crime by stopping young people carrying knives in the first place.
“Therefore if you go around with a gun ready to shoot someone you believe is about to do you harm you will only increase the crime rate. The crime and murder rate in the US speak for themselves.
“We need to go in completely the opposite direction. We know the answer to London’s knife crime problem is to stop young people carrying knives in the first place. If we do that then everything else falls into place. There will be less demand on hospitals. The police will be under less pressure. That’s the critical first step.” (The Telegraph)