Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

NRA's Top Lobbyist Implies Trump Is Back On Its Side

NRA's Top Lobbyist Implies Trump Is Back On Its Side

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Friday that President Donald Trump made no policy commitments during a closed-door meeting with National Rifle Association (NRA) leaders Thursday evening. His comments suggested that, after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead and sparked a youth movement for gun control, he was interested in breaking with the gun-rights group on key issues.

Trump sent out several signals that no doubt raised the hackles of the NRA and Second Amendment absolutists who count themselves as part of the president's base.

NRA Executive Director Chris Cox, meanwhile, echoed Trump's sentiments, and added Vice President Mike Pence was also present.

It was at that meeting that Mr. Trump said, "We have to adopt common sense gun laws which maintain the rights of law abiding citizens, but keeps guns away from those who pose a danger and should not have them".

Trump mentioned arming teachers, and said his administration, not Congress, would ban "bump-stock" devices that enable guns to fire like automatic weapons with an executive order.

Asked if Trump's thinking has changed since Wednesday's meeting, Sanders said, "not that I'm aware of".

He said lawmakers support expanding federal gun-purchase background checks to firearms sales conducted at gun shows and online.

This may not be an easy task for Congress, since it is already having a hard time passing a measure that would improve how information is reported to the federal background checks database.

During the meeting, Mr. Trump repeatedly expressed mystification that members of Congress had taken no action after prior mass shootings. She added, "I think he's just entertaining both sides". I think people want to get it done.


Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in Washington.

This is also something we saw during discussions about immigration, an issue that's supposedly high on Trump's priority list. "But that's something he would support", Sanders said. Those statements seemed to have prompted an emergency White House meeting with the NRA on Thursday night.

Dick's Sporting Goods announced it would no longer sell assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under the age of 21.

"Not necessarily universal background checks, but certainly improving the background check system", Sanders said.

This proposal falls in the jurisdiction of state and local governments, a point that Trump and Republican lawmakers have emphasized.

In a sign that there will be no rush to advance gun legislation, Sen. "You see these movies, and they're so violent, a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved, and maybe we need to put a rating system for that".

"Mr. President, it's going to have to be you that brings the Republicans to the table on this", said Chris Murphy, a Democratic senator from CT and an outspoken advocate of gun-control measures.

President Donald Trump may be walking back his push for gun reform. "I'm the guy that wrote the bill that the NRA opposed, the Manchin-Toomey legislation was strongly opposed by the NRA".

Senate Majority Whip Republican John Cornyn dismissed Trump's meeting with lawmakers as "brainstorming" and likened it to "Legislating 101". Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats would not approve legislation with that measure in it.

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