Facing increased pressure from Democrats to take some level of action on gun control measures on the heels of two deadly mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he wants “intelligent background checks.”
Trump also said that the issue wasn’t a question of partisan politics or the National Rifle Association and sounded confident that Congress would be ready to come together on the issue. He indicated that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was “totally on board” with the plan.
Surprisingly, given their recent history of public clashes, Trump indicated that he had a “great talk” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the issue of guns, according to The Hill.
“I think with a lot of success that we have, I think I have a greater influence now over the Senate and over the House,” he said.
“I think we can get something really good done. I think we can have some meaningful background checks,” Trump told reporters as he prepared to depart for a fundraiser.
The president also said that while they tried to do something after the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018, support for the issue seemed to be stronger now than it was then.
“I see a better feeling right now toward getting something meaningful done,” Trump said.
Trump has also publicly expressed support for what are being called “red flag” laws that give law enforcement the ability to take away someone’s firearms if they’re deemed a threat to the public or themselves. But in recent days, the NRA — an early supporter of Trump’s presidency — have publicly opposed such laws, claiming they would violate the Constitutional rights of gun owners.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 9, 2019
McConnell, who will likely be the most important piece of the puzzle in convincing fellow Republicans to support legislation that would bolster background checks, has faced intense pressure since the mass shootings to cut short the August recess and reconvene the U.S. Senate for an attempt to debate two bills passed by House Democrats in February.
According to The Hill, on Thursday McConnell made his first public comments on the call from Democrats to activate the chamber early and suggested that doing so wouldn’t be for the right reasons. But the majority leader did indicate that once his chamber is back in session, he’s ready to put the issue at the front of the line.
“We’re going to have these bipartisan discussions and when we get back hopefully be able to come together and actually pass something. I want to make a law,” McConnell said.