We asked Sheriff Clarke how the U.S. can prevent another shooting like Las Vegas. He shrugged.

"Some things are outside our control as human beings," he said.

Sheriff  David Clarke is a supporter of President Trump and the NRA. CREDIT: Kira Lerner
Sheriff David Clarke is a supporter of President Trump and the NRA. CREDIT: Kira Lerner

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former Sheriff David Clarke, who served four terms as Milwaukee’s top law enforcement official before resigning to potentially take a job with the Trump administration, has no idea what the United States can do to prevent another Las Vegas-style massacre.

Asked by ThinkProgress if there are any regulations that the Trump administration can enact in order to prevent another attack like Sunday’s shooting that left 59 people dead and hundreds others injured, Clarke shrugged.

“Why do people keep asking that?” he said, standing by the U.S. Capitol after appearing on Fox News where he talked about the appropriate law enforcement response to the shooting.

“Some things are outside our control as human beings,” he told ThinkProgress.

When asked why other countries don’t see the same rate of gun violence as the United States, Clarke immediately pivoted to international terrorism, which kills a tiny number of Americans each year compared to gun violence.


“You see the terrorist attacks that are happening over in Europe right now? Trucks and knives,” Clarke said. “We focus too much on the instrumentality and not on the behavior.”

Clarke shrugged again when asked if the Las Vegas gunman, Stephen Paddock, should have been allowed to purchase the amount and caliber of weapons and ammunition that he did. Law enforcement officers found 23 guns in his hotel room and another 19 in his Nevada home. Under current Nevada law, there is no limit on the number of weapons an individual can own or carry at a given time.

On Fox News, Clarke said that investigators should determine how Paddock was able to bring “this type of arsenal into a hotel or casino complex” without someone noticing, emphasizing that the “see something, say something” approach is the only potential response.

“The ordinary firearms owner would never dream — even having a nightmare — of taking that firearm and committing this type of carnage,” he said on Fox. “So I want to caution people about overreacting. When I say people, I’m talking about politicians. ‘We need more gun control.’ I’m hearing it already. No we don’t.”

Clarke is a staunch Trump supporter and enjoys a close relationship with the National Rifle Association. He frequently appears on TV to support the president’s agenda and he is a permanent fixture at the NRA’s annual meeting where he stokes fear about Democrats wanting to confiscate guns. After the president failed to appoint him to a cabinet position, Clarke joined America First Action, a pro-Trump political action committee, last month.