US President Donald Trump has sparked off a new controversy as he defended the US gun laws and said London's stringent anti-gun legislation resulted in one of London’s hospitals turning into a “war zone” due to a rise in knife crime instead.
Trump, addressing the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, spoke in favour of liberal gun laws and questioned whether vans, trucks and cars, which have been used as weapons by terrorists, should also be banned before turning to knives.
“I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital, right in the middle, is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds.
“Yes, that's right, they don't have guns, they have knives and instead there's blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it's as bad as a military war zone hospital,” Trump said.
Knife crime in London has claimed 38 lives so far this year as the city saw a spike in stabbings, according to Scotland Yard. Marian Fitzgerald, a criminologist at the University of Kent, said although there had been a spike in knife-related deaths in London, it was a separate issue to gun control.
"It's just politically convenient, in a speech to the gun rights lobby, to try and make those comparisons and they are totally spurious. If he needs reassurance, Donald Trump is going to be much safer in London than he would be at home," she said.
Trump is scheduled to visit the UK on July 13.
(With inputs from agencies)