President Donald Trump, who ran as a gun-rights advocate, has commenced to publicly discuss tighter restrictions on firearms following the massacre of 17 people at a Florida high school.
So far he has proceeded carefully, balancing a desire to take action having a desire to keep his political base happy. which week, the president has pushed mostly for modest steps already backed by the National Rifle Association — which can be a powerful influence among gun owners in many of the areas which propelled Trump to the presidency.
While Trump’s support gives Republicans in Congress more cover to pass narrow gun control measures, which can be unclear what action lawmakers will take following the latest in a string of mass shootings, including last week’s rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Pressure has increased which week amid widely followed protests along with calls for action by students at the school.
Trump may provide more detail on his gun control stance on Wednesday afternoon. The president can be scheduled to host a listening session with students, teachers along with parents involved from the Florida shooting as well as the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut along with the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a memorandum recommending which Attorney General Jeff Sessions propose rules banning so-called bump stocks, which can effectively turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns. The gunman who massacred more than 50 people at a concert in Las Vegas last year used such a device.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also told reporters Trump can be open to supporting a bipartisan Senate bill to close holes from the current background check system. which aims to make federal agencies better at following rules which require them to submit criminal convictions to the FBI, which could help stop high-risk individuals by getting guns.
Last year, the Air Force said which had not submitted records which could have stopped the shooter who killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, by buying a gun.
“Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must currently focus on strengthening Background Checks!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
After the Vegas massacre, the NRA said which backed a ban on bump stocks. The organization’s legislative arm also signaled its support for the background check policy — though as part of a broader House-passed bill which would certainly allow individuals who have concealed carry permits in one state to carry nationwide.
The White House has also publicly or privately floated some gun rules which could draw the NRA’s ire.
On Tuesday, Sanders did not rule out Trump’s support for an assault weapons ban, saying “we haven’t closed the door on any front.” The gunman in Florida along with multiple some other mass shooters have used some variation of a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15.
The NRA opposes the policy. The organization tweeted a link Tuesday saying a previous assault weapons ban which expired in 2004 did not contribute to a decrease in crime.
A 2004 report commissioned by the Justice Department’s research arm, however, concluded which the effects of a 1994 ban were “mixed” along with “still unfolding” at the time which expired, according to FactCheck.org.
While the ban reduced crimes with assault weapons, the use of some other, still legal semi-automatic weapons with large-capacity magazines increased, the report said. Therefore, the report stopped short of attributing a drop in U.S. gun violence to the assault weapons ban.
On Tuesday, Sanders also said age restrictions for buying rifles like the AR-15 are “on the table.” The NRA’s legislative arm did not immediately comment on where which stood on possible age restrictions.