As America continues to reel from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer has blamed the ongoing culture of school shootings on not having enough prayer and guns on school campuses.
"I suggest we have mass school shootings because we don't have enough God on our campuses and we don't have enough guns," Fischer, who hosts "Focal Point" on American Family Radio, wrote in an op-ed for the American Family Association a day after the Valentine's Day massacre that left 17 people dead.
"When tragic school shootings happen, like the one in Florida, everyone sends their 'thoughts and prayers' to the families of the victims. But why don't we pray before these shootings happen instead of waiting until somebody's dead? Everyone understands that prayer in school is appropriate in the wake of a tragedy like this. But if it's appropriate after, there's no reason it's not appropriate before," he charged.
His comments drew criticism from supporters of the American Humanist Association.
In an interview with CBN last Thursday, Fischer defended his position.
"I've been perturbed about this issue for a long time," he told the network. "The Supreme Court banned prayer in schools in 1963, so since 1963 the Supreme Court said it's not permissible for you to pray in school, to pray for God's protection, to pray for God's guidance, to pray for his covering over your school from violence and things like this and we've seen some alarming differences in the statistics."
He then went on to share some of those statistics.
"Prior to 1963, there were a total of 62 deaths from school shootings in the United States. After 1963, there have been a total of 419 deaths from school shootings, from an average of about 10 a year to an average of 78 a year. And I can't help but believe that's it's connected to the fact that the Supreme Court has prohibited us from any kind of formal way asking for God's protection over our students and over our schools," he said.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder last Thursday after he gunned down 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Reports say he was a troubled student battling autism and grief from a recent relationship heartbreak and the death of his adoptive mother.
President Donald Trump blamed Cruz's actions on mental illness.
"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
With gun control back in the spotlight, Fischer argued that more people on campus need to be armed.
"It has always been a matter of obvious and demonstrable fact that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all in these school shootings is that when a shooter comes on campus, there is rarely anyone - a teacher or an administrator - who is armed and able to stop him," he wrote.
"Armed school resource officers are simply not enough. There were two of them present on the Florida campus, but the shooter easily evaded them. Who knows how many adults were in a position to stop the shooter but, unarmed, couldn't do anything but throw their own bodies over students to protect them, as one of the football coaches heroically did in Parkland."
Football coach Aaron Feis died in the shooting. According to witnesses, he threw himself in front of students as Cruz rained down bullets on students.