- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2019

As he mulls proposals on gun control, President Trump said Thursday that the gunman who shot six Philadelphia police officers should have already been in prison due to his “long and very dangerous criminal record.”

“The Philadelphia shooter should never have been allowed to be on the streets,” the president tweeted about the alleged gunman, Maurice Hill.

Referring to video of Hill’s surrender to police, the president said, “Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence - must get much tougher on street crime!”

The president is considering proposals to limit access to firearms after two mass shootings earlier this month in Texas and Ohio.

Hill ended seven-hour standoff shortly after midnight when he emerged from a row house in north Philadelphia with his hands up. Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the suspect has an “extensive” criminal record; he allegedly fired hundreds of rounds at police.

Police were serving a narcotics warrant at the house when Hill allegedly opened fire on the first floor, wounding six officers, some of whom dove out of windows to escape. Two other officers were trapped on the second floor of the home with other drug suspects in handcuffs, while Hill allegedly fired a high-powered rifle up through the floor below them.

The trapped officers and their detainees were eventually able to escape the house without Hill’s knowledge. The six wounded officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries and are recovering.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney complained that the suspect with a criminal history “was able to get these weapons, and a large magazine, a large amount of bullets.” The mayor blamed federal and state officials for what he called their failure to enact gun-control measures or to stand up to the National Rifle Association.

“So whether it’s our six officers that were shot or it’s some 15-, 17-, 20-year-old kid on the streets of Philadelphia who gets shot with guns that shouldn’t be in people’s hands — it’s aggravating, it’s saddening, and it’s just something we need to do something about,” Mr. Kenney said. “Our officers deserve to be protected, and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets.”

Several gun-rights advocates have said that a person with a long criminal record already would have been breaking the law by possessing a firearm.

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway questioned the competence of the Democratic mayor.

“What Philly sorely needs is a competent mayor who sufficiently respects and resources our brave men and women of law enforcement,” she tweeted.

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