In the days following two deadly mass shootings that claimed the lives of more than 30 people, President Trump has reportedly told lawmakers that he is open to endorsing universal background checks for people purchasing firearms.
On Tuesday, the NRA issued a warning to Trump that support for the bill would not be popular amongst his supporters.
They say the legislation could be the start of a slippery slope of laws that would infringe on the Constitutional rights of Americans.
“I think background checks are important,” the president told reporters when he was en route to visit with survivors of the El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio shootings.
Chief Executive of the NRA Wayne LaPierre met with Trump this week to advise him against supporting the legislation, a decision that would surely be unfavorable with his base. But on Wednesday, Trump gave the go-ahead to the background check legislation.
The new legislation would expand background checks to almost all firearm sales. But even some supporters of the Manchin-Toomey bill say it is unlikely to pass.
Trump & LaPierre have spoken multiple times over the last few days, I’m told. LaPierre made the NRA’s stance on renewed calls for expanded background checks clear — telling Trump his supporters in deep red areas feel differently than Washington does. First reported by WaPo. https://t.co/iKZUBBrwcz
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 8, 2019
Though the measure to approve the legislation was called ‘premature’ by some White House staffers, the president reportedly asked lawyers about what he could do to push through an executive order, officials told The Washington Post.
Senator Lindsey Graham said the president “seems determined to do something and believes there is space to get something done this time around.”
He went on to say that while Trump has never been a big gun guy, he wants to approach the issue from the angle of common sense.
“The president has a pretty common-sense point of view. He’s never been a sports or gun enthusiast. But he is more determined than ever to do something on his watch,” Graham said.
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Advisors to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the president will not bring any gun control legislation to the floor without widespread support in the ranks of the GOP, the New York Post reported.
“I don’t think the president or his Republican allies are going to become out of nowhere advocates of aggressive gun control,” said Trump ally Matt Schlapp, who leads the American Conservative Union said in an interview.
Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va co-authored the bill. He said that in a conversation with the president, he expressed how badly he needed his endorsement. Trump reportedly wanted to know why this legislation hadn’t gained support previously.
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“He was inquisitive, wanting to know why it hadn’t happened. He wanted to know all about it,” Manchin said. “I told him we couldn’t get enough Republicans to help us.”
It’s unclear of how much support the bill will gain, but it does have supporters of the Second Amendment wondering if the laws would stop there… or continue to infringe on their Constitutional rights.