Real-estate mogul Donald Trump ended his Thursday-night campaign rally by calling for an end to so-called gun-free zones on schools and US military bases.
"I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools — you have to — and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed my first day," the Republican presidential front-runner told his supporters in Burlington, Vermont.
"You know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko?" Trump asked. "That's bait."
Trump's rally was occurring at the same time as US President Barack Obama's televised town-hall forum addressing gun violence. Obama has repeatedly called for gun-control measures after recent mass shootings and took executive action this week to expand background checks on gun buyers, among other things.
But Trump argues that more people need to be carrying arms to protect the innocent.
His allusion to gun-free military bases was apparently a reference to the attacks against two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last July. His gun-free schools comment could have been referring to the mass shooting at an Oregon community college last October, though concealed firearms were reportedly allowed there.
But far more of Trump's Thursday gun-control discussion was about the recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Paris. Both of those incidents, he suggested, would have been easily thwarted if those areas had looser gun-control laws and an armed public.
"They walk into a number of places in France, and they say, 'Get over.' Boom. 'Get over.' Boom. 'Get over.' Boom. Nobody had a gun on the other side," Trump recalled. If the people there were armed, he said, "It's a whole different outcome. It's a whole different deal."
He added: "You'll have bad stuff happening, but at least we're shooting back. And we're going down shooting."