Trump still has no idea what happened at Pulse

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PHOTO VIA C-SPAN
President Donald Trump continues to be wrong about what happened during the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse, almost two years after it happened.

While making the argument against having "gun-free zones," Trump said the massacre of 49 people by a gunman at Pulse could have been stopped if someone had been armed during the attack.

"As an example, you take Pulse nightclub," Trump told a bipartisan group of lawmakers during a meeting on school and community safety. "If you had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn’t have happened, or certainly not to the extent it did, where he was just in there shooting, and shooting and shooting and they were defenseless."

Except someone was armed during the attack at Pulse – an off-duty Orlando Police officer who was working at the nightclub as a security guard. Omar Mateen opened fire on a crowd of about 300 people inside Pulse using a semi-automatic Sig Sauer MCX rifle (military-style rifle) and a Glock 17 handgun. Within seconds, Officer Adam Gruler saw Mateen outside, exchanged gunfire with him and called for help on the police radio, but did not initially go inside, according to a review from the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Police Foundation. The report says OPD estimated from listening to 911 calls that Mateen fired about 200 rounds in less than five minutes and only stopped to reload. In those initial minutes, backup officers from various agencies breached Pulse and tried to find Mateen while also rescuing victims. Law enforcement managed to corner Mateen in one of Pulse's bathrooms, along with victims who were severely injured.

This isn't the first time Trump has claimed no one at Pulse had a weapon. Days after the Pulse attack, then candidate Trump made a similar claim twice, including once at a campaign rally in Atlanta, according to the fact-checking organization run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

"If some of those great people that were in that club that night had guns strapped to their waist or strapped to their ankle, and if the bullets were going in the other direction, aimed at this guy who was just open target practice, you would’ve had a situation, folks," Trump told the crowd.

Trump and other guns rights activists have often used this claim that "gun-free zones" are dangerous to advance the idea that people should be able to carry arms everywhere because shooters target those areas. But this claim often ignores the armed security guards or law enforcement in these spaces. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a shooter killed 17 students and teachers two weeks ago, wasn't a gun-free zone – the school had its own armed sheriff's deputy.

It's one thing for candidate Trump to get the facts wrong, but after becoming president, he could at least take 10 minutes to learn what actually happened before basing policy changes on fake claims.