WASHINGTON — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said Sunday that he disagrees with President Donald Trump’s call for more armed guards at places of worship in order to prevent shootings like the one that claimed the lives of 11 congregants at a synagogue in the city on Saturday.
Instead, Peduto told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he believes that gun control measures would go further to help stop these shootings.
“I belong to an organization, a bipartisan organization, called Mayors Against Illegal Guns. I don’t think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques and churches filled with armed guards or schools filled with armed guards,” Peduto said.
“We should try to stop irrational behavior from happening at the forefront. And not try to create laws around irrational behavior to continue.”
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a part of Everytown for Our Safety, a group started by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It calls for gun control policies including mandating background checks for all gun sales and stiffening penalties for gun sellers who intentionally break the law.
Peduto spoke from near the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where 11 congregants were killed when a gunman opened fire during the Saturday morning prayer service. Six others were wounded in the attack, including multiple police officers who responded to the scene.
Robert Bowers, the Pennsylvania man arrested at the scene, has been charged with 29 federal counts including murder and hate crimes. His social media profiles show rampant posts threatening Jews and sharing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Trump decried the “evil” of anti-Semitism and reiterated his support for the death penalty.