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White House: Day of worst mass shooting not the 'time and place' to discuss gun control

Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pauses while speaking during an off-camera press briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Asked a question about gun control at a briefing less than 24 hours after the deadliest shooting in U.S. history, an emotional Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was inappropriate to broach policy debate.

There is a "time and place" for gun control discussion, the White House press secretary said, but it is "not the place we're in at the moment."

Pressed about whether a dialogue was timely, Sanders answered that “it would be premature for us to discuss policy” when all the facts of the attack are not yet known.

A gunman labeled by authorities as "a lone wolf" killed at least 58 and injured at least 515 others in an attack at a Las Vegas country music concert.

Authorities say the perpetrator, 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, killed himself in a hotel room after the shooting.

In the wake of the tragedy, President Donald Trump and his administration remain focused on "uniting the country" and mourning the victims, Sanders said.

Trump ordered flags across the country flown at half-staff Monday, and led a moment of silence on the White House lawn.

Trump's predecessor and former president Barack Obama frequently marked mass shootings with calls for stricter gun control laws.

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, shot in the head in a 2015 assassination attempt, addressed Congress from the steps of the Capitol Monday to demand her former colleagues institute stricter gun control.

Trump did not mention firearms during his address earlier Monday, when he called the incident an "act of pure evil."

The president instead maintained a focus on solidarity, remarking that "our unity cannot be shattered by evil" and "our bonds cannot be broken by violence."

The Republican president has cast himself as a friend to firearms owners and the National Rifle Association lobby.

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