Trump's Evangelical Adviser Suggests Teaching Children That They're 'Accountable to God for Their Actions' Can Help Reduce Gun Violence

In the wake of back-to-back mass shootings that killed 31 people and injured dozens more, President Donald Trump's evangelical adviser Robert Jeffress suggested that such violence could be prevented by teaching children that "they are accountable to God for their actions."

"I'm not arguing against legislation," Jeffress said during an appearance on Fox News on Thursday. The Southern Baptist pastor told host Shannon Bream that "there is a spiritual component" to gun violence that is being ignored.

"I'm saying that one thing we can do is quit this devaluation of human life in our society that is seen by the glorification of violence in our culture," Jeffress said. "By the mass slaughter of a whole class of citizens - the unborn - by teaching our children that they're not nothing but an evolutionary accident instead of teaching our children that they are created by God, they are of value to God and they are accountable to God for their actions."

During the segment, which was posted to Jeffress' Youtube channel, Bream highlighted a recent op-ed by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee about the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

Huckabee argued that mass shootings were always going to happen in America "until we have a reawakening of morality and values." He added that he would continue praying for those affected by the shootings despite "all those who are denouncing the idea of prayers for the victims."

Fox's Bream slightly criticized Huckabee's logic, saying it's "important that we remember that these weapons will kill dozens more people in the time that it took Cain to beat Abel to death with a stone."

Jeffress fired back, telling Beaman that he wasn't trying to say that the U.S. "shouldn't do anything" to address mass shootings and gun violence.

trump evangelical leader robert jeffress
President Donald Trump is greeting by Pastor Robert Jeffress during the Celebrate Freedom Rally at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on July 1, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

"I think we all understand that the Second Amendment has limits to it, just like the First Amendment with free speech does," he continued. "We don't believe everybody has a right to have a nuclear weapon. We don't believe that 4-year-olds ought to have guns," Jeffress said.

The shootings have renewed calls for gun control. But even before the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, Gallup recorded the highest level of support for stricter gun laws in 25 years.

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted said he hoped Trump's visit to Dayton would change his mind on passing stricter gun legislation. "When he visits the site and sees the bullet holes and the blood stains, I think that has an effect on you as a human being," he said.

At first, the president blamed the mass shootings on just about everything but guns, including white supremacy, mental illness, video games and the internet. On Monday, in his first public address on the shootings, he insisted that "mental illness pulls the trigger, not the gun."

But on Friday, the president seemed to change his tune. He told reporters that he wanted to rally Republicans in Congress around stronger background checks for firearm purchases. He also said lawmakers are more open to passing "red flag" laws that would allow courts to issue orders to temporarily confiscate the guns of people deemed to be a risk to others or themselves.

"I see a better feeling right now toward getting something meaningful done," Trump said.