WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Friday that fellow Republicans will set aside resistance to restricting access to firearms by supporting background checks for people buying weapons in the wake of mass shootings in Ohio and Texas.
The progress in efforts to curb the United States’ freewheeling relationship with firearms came despite talks between Trump and the head of the fierce NRA gun lobby, Wayne LaPierre.
Republicans have long resisted imposing background checks on gun buyers, a measure that the powerful NRA argues would be the thin end of the wedge, leading to ever tighter restrictions on the constitutional right to carrying weapons.
But after 31 people were shot dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend — just the latest in an ever growing list of bloodbaths carried out by men with powerful rifles — political momentum has apparently shifted.
Trump said that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was “totally onboard” with background checks.
Even “hardline” gun rights supporters in the Republican party “understand we don’t want insane people, mentally ill people, bad people, dangerous people” buying firearms, Trump told reporters at the White House.
He said he’d spoken with LaPierre and had “a good talk.” But despite describing the NRA as “phenomenal people” and insisting that no other president has been more supportive of gun rights, Trump said “we need meaningful background checks so that sick people don’t get guns.”.