Trump's Push for Gun Control Leaves GOP 'Flummoxed'

Meanwhile, 'giddy' Democrats aren't sure he'll follow through
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2018 12:01 AM CST
Updated Mar 1, 2018 6:00 AM CST
President Donald Trump pauses during a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, with members of congress to discuss school and community safety.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – In a televised meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers Wednesday, President Trump appeared to embrace gun control, with little concern for how the NRA might feel about it. Trump urged lawmakers, whom he accused of being too afraid of the gun lobby group, to revive a bipartisan bill crafted in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey; it failed to move forward thanks to a largely Republican filibuster at the time. Trump called for a number of measures widely opposed by Republicans and the NRA, including expanding background checks, allowing law enforcement to seize guns from people with mental illness, and increasing the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21. The New York Times reports that Democrats at the meeting seemed "giddy," while Republicans were "stone-faced." CNN calls the Republicans "flummoxed."

Trump also suggested a ban on assault weapons should be discussed, and he said that he recently told NRA leaders, "It's time. We're going to stop this nonsense." He also brought up ideas opposed by Democrats, such as ending gun-free zones around schools and arming teachers, though he acknowledged the idea was controversial and may not pass. His words at the meeting led to swift pushback from Republicans ("We're not ditching any constitutional protections simply because the last person the president talked to today doesn't like them," said Republican Sen. Ben Sasse) and the NRA (the group's spokesperson went on Fox News to decry a statement Trump made—"take the guns first, go through due process second"—about disarming people with mental illness). Democrats, meanwhile, may have been giddy (Sen. Dianne Feinstein "literally jumped for joy"), but also expressed skepticism that Trump would follow through. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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