President Trump Suggests Armed Guards at Synagogues, Churches; Many Jewish People Say There Already Are - NBC 10 Philadelphia

President Trump Suggests Armed Guards at Synagogues, Churches; Many Jewish People Say There Already Are

President Trump suggested armed guards could have prevented the mass shooting. Many Jewish people say armed security already protect synagogues.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Trump Reacts to Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

    President Donald Trump commented on Saturday’s deadly shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. “This could have been avoided if they had protection,” he said. Confirmation on the synagogue’s security arrangements was not immediately available

    (Published Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018)

    President Donald Trump suggested, shortly after at least eight people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue, that the shooter could have been stopped had there been an armed guard on duty.

    "I hate to think of it that way. It's certainly an option in this world. This is a world with a lot of problems," President Trump said while answering reporters' questions prior to an event in Indiana.

    Many Jewish people immediately took issue with his off-the-cuff remark — not over the idea of armed security at places of worship, but because there often already is.

    It also remains unknown if there was armed security at the Tree of Life synagogue in the historically Jewish community of Squirrel Hill. Four police officers were injured during the attack by a heavily-armed shooter, according to authorities.

    Officials have not confirmed if any of the injured officers were present when the shooting started.

    Shira Goodman, president of pro-gun control group CeasefirePA and a member of two synagogues in suburban Philadelphia, said security is already present at her places of worship, particularly on the Jewish high holidays.

    But she said Trump is missing the point.

    "The president is focused on the wrong thing," Goodman said. "This shouldn't be one nation under lockdown. I want us to feel safe to play and pray and gather together without the need for armed guards everywhere."

    "This is not about hiring more armed guards to make us safer," she added.

    Jordan Fabian, a reporter with The Hill in Washington D.C., tweeted that his synagogue also already employs armed police officers on the High Holy Days.

    "Many others do too," Fabian tweeted. "My Jewish day school had guards and a metal gate outside. And yet these things still happen."

    Ari Fleischer, a press secretary for former President George W. Bush, said security is nothing new.

    "Trump isn’t wrong re armed guards at synagogues," Fleischer tweeted. "Sadly, my synagogue for years has had armed off-duty police at High Holy Day services and at Hebrew School. They’re also in the parking lot for pick up and drop off of the children."

    Trump also praised law enforcement for their immediate action and response to the situation. And he disputed the notion that discussing gun laws is appropriate.

    "This has little to do with it," he said of gun control from an airport tarmac in Indianapolis. "If you take a look, if they had protection inside, the results would have been far better."