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Psychologists criticize Trump for calling Texas shooting 'mental health problem'

The American Psychological Association (APA) criticized President Trump for saying the Sunday mass shooting at a Texas church was a "mental health" problem and not about guns.

"Calling this shooting a 'mental health problem' distracts our nation's leaders from developing policies and legislation that would focus on preventing gun violence through a scientific, public health approach," said APA President Antonio E. Puente in a statement Monday.

Puente said the majority of people with mental illness are not violent and said keeping firearms from high-risk groups would prevent violence.

"A complex combination of risk factors, including a history of domestic violence, violent misdemeanor crimes and substance use disorders, increases the likelihood of people using a firearm against themselves or others," the statement said.

"Firearm prohibitions for these high-risk groups have been shown to reduce gun violence."

Puente said the suspected gunman in the Texas shooting showed "several of these red flags."

"Gun violence is a serious public health problem that requires attention to these risk factors, as well as more research to inform the development and implementation of empirically based prevention and threat assessment strategies," Puente added.

The shooting Sunday at a Texas church left 26 people dead.

Trump on Monday said the shooting wasn't a "guns situation."

"I think that mental health is your problem here," Trump said during a news conference in Tokyo during his Asia trip.

"This was a very - based on preliminary reports - a very deranged individual. A lot of problems over a long period of time."

Trump said it's too soon to discuss the issue of more restrictions on guns.

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