Trump seeks to clarify comments on guns at Orlando nightclub

Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, June 18, 2016. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec

(Reuters) - Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump said he was referring to security staff, but not patrons, in comments that if more people had been armed during a Florida nightclub shooting last week, fewer would have died.

“When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees,” Trump said on Twitter on Monday.

Trump had said last week that he wished someone inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12 was carrying a firearm to stop a gunman before he could kill more clubgoers.

“If the bullets were going in the other direction aimed at this guy, who was just open target practice, you would have had a situation that was always horrible, but nothing like the carnage that we all as a people suffered this weekend,” Trump said on Wednesday at a rally in Atlanta.

National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre on Sunday appeared critical of the idea of having clubgoers armed. “I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking,” LaPierre said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

An off-duty Orlando police officer was working security at the club when the shooting occurred, authorities have said.

Reporting by Kouichi Shirayanagi; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn