President Trump vowed Friday to press for what he called “very meaningful background checks” for gun-buyers, but promised to respect the hardline views of the National Rifle Association.
“We’re only looking at very meaningful background checks,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I think it’s going to happen. There’s great, great support.”
Trump declined to call on lawmakers to return from their summer break to vote on new gun-control measures. He also reiterated his opposition to renewing the assault weapons ban.
Trump claimed that he can convince his gun-loving political base to agree to new rules after the mass shootings that killed at least 31 people last weekend in El Paso and Dayton.
“I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country,” he wrote on Twitter.
Democrats and Republicans alike are skeptical that Trump will follow through on any gun restrictions.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to the president over that phone and urged him to support gun control legislation that has already passed in the House.
“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,” the Democratic leaders said in a joint statement.
NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre also talked to Trump this week to warn him against crossing the group, which opposes even the most modest gun control measures.
“I think in the end … the NRA will either be there or will be a little more neutral, and that’s okay too,” Trump said.
Since the shootings, Trump has spoken frequently about restricting gun access to the mentally ill and so-called ‘red flag laws,’ perhaps signalling that he hopes to calm outrage with a very narrow new law.