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Trump says NRA's views will be 'fully represented' in gun reform talks

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President Donald Trump on Friday acknowledged he has spoken in recent days with National Rifle Association officials to ensure the powerful firearm lobby’s interests are “fully represented and respected” in negotiations on gun reform legislation following two mass shootings over the weekend.

“Serious discussions are taking place between House and Senate leadership on meaningful Background Checks. I have also been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected,” Trump tweeted.

“Guns should not be placed in the hands of … mentally ill or deranged people,” he continued. “I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country. Common sense things can be done that are good for everyone!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday urged Trump to use his Constitutional authority to call the Senate into session so the chamber can take up gun control legislation approved by House Democratic lawmakers, including a bill passed in February mandating federal criminal background checks on all gun sales.

“This extraordinary moment in our history requires all of us to take extraordinary action to save lives,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to the president.


Trump called Pelosi later Thursday to discuss the universal background check bill, and also spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “The President gave us his assurances that he would review the bipartisan House-passed legislation and understood our interest in moving as quickly as possible to help save lives,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday said strengthening background checks and “red flag” laws will “lead the discussion” in upcoming gun reform talks, but declined to summon senators back to Capitol Hill from their August recess.

“If we did that, we’d just have people scoring points and nothing would happen,” McConnell told a Kentucky news radio show, after speaking with the president Thursday morning. “There has to be a bipartisan discussion here of what we can agree on. If we do it prematurely it will just be another frustrating experience for all of us and for the public.”

Congressional Democrats have implored Trump and Senate Republicans to back the House’s background check measure — which the president previously vowed to veto — as well as consider an assault weapons ban.

Trump on Wednesday expressed optimism for changes to laws governing gun background checks, but insisted there exists “no political appetite” for restrictions on the sale of assault rifles.

“There is a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite, for background checks. And I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I think both Republican[s] and Democrat[s] are getting close to a bill on, to doing something with background checks.”

NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre warned Trump in a phone conversation Tuesday that a background check bill would not be popular among the president’s supporters, The Washington Post reported, and the two men shared several more calls Wednesday.

LaPierre said in a statement Thursday the NRA "opposes any legislation that unfairly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens," adding that "many proposals are nothing more than ‘soundbite solutions.’"

Appeals for legislative action come after a gunman in El Paso, Texas, murdered 22 people Saturday morning at a Walmart in the southern border town. Within 13 hours of that attack, a gunman in Dayton, Ohio, murdered nine people early Sunday morning before he was shot and killed by police.

Trump on Monday morning recommended in tweets “perhaps marrying” background check legislation to immigration reform. But he appeared to retreat from that suggestion three hours later in a televised address, instead advocating for the implementation of “red flag” laws to confiscate weapons from “those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety.”


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine





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via DMT.NEWS qforgey@politico.com (Quint Forgey), Khareem Sudlow