World

Anger in France, Britain over Trump’s gun law speech

PARIS/LONDON: US President Donald Trump sparked anger in France and Britain by suggesting looser gun laws could have helped prevent deadly attacks in Paris in 2015 and linking a wave of knife crimes in London to a handgun ban.

In a speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday, Mr Trump mimicked the shooting of victims in the Paris rampage and said if civilians had been armed "it would have been a whole different story".

The French government issued its strongest criticism of Mr Trump since he took office, at a time when President Emmanuel Macron has been reinforcing bilateral ties following a state visit.

"France expresses its firm disapproval of President Trump's comments about the Paris attacks on Nov 13, 2015, and demands that the memory of the victims be respected," the foreign office said in a statement.

"Every country freely decides on its own laws on carrying firearms, as in other areas. France is proud to be a country where acquiring and carrying firearms is strictly regulated."

Other French politicians took issue with Mr Trump's comments after he acted out the scene of the massacre by Islamist assailants at Paris' Bataclan concert hall, where 90 of the 130 victims died.

"They took their time and gunned them down one by one. Boom! Come over here. Boom! Come over here. Boom!," Mr Trump said, using his hands in a gun gesture.

Trauma surgeons in London said Mr Trump had missed the point after, in the same speech, he linked knife crimes there to an absence of guns.

Mr Trump, who is due to visit Britain on July 13, told NRA members that a "once very prestigious" London hospital had become overwhelmed with victims of knife attacks.

"They don't have guns. They have knives and instead there is blood all over the floor of this hospital," he said. "They say it is as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives, knives," he added, making stabbing gestures. - REUTERS

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