With growing pressure from Democrats for action by the Senate on a House-passed bill which requires background checks on private gun sales, President Donald Trump spoke Sunday with Democratic leaders in Congress, as the White House said legislative solutions are still being examined.
"The conversation was cordial," the White House said in a statement sent to reporters on Sunday afternoon.
"The President made no commitments," the White House said on whether Mr. Trump would support the background checks bill known as H.R. 8, "but instead indicated his interest in working to find a bipartisan legislative solution on appropriate responses to the issue of mass gun violence."
In their own readout on Sunday, top Democrats again demanded action by the Senate.
"This morning, we made it clear to the President that any proposal he endorses that does not include the House-passed universal background checks legislation will not get the job done, as dangerous loopholes will still exist and people who shouldn’t have guns will still have access," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
.@SpeakerPelosi and I made it clear to @realDonaldTrump:— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 15, 2019
Any proposal he endorses that doesn't include the House-passed universal background checks legislation will not get the job done—dangerous loopholes will still exist, people who shouldn't have guns will still have access. pic.twitter.com/uUMPcwcjhu
"We’re looking at background checks and we’re looking at putting everything together in a unified way so that we can have something that’s meaningful,” President Trump told reporters last week in the Oval Office.
“At the same time, all of us want to protect our great Second Amendment," the President added. "It’s very important to all of us."
Mr. Trump made that same point of emphasis in a speech to House Republicans during a party retreat in Baltimore last week.
"Meanwhile, Democrats want to confiscate guns from law-abiding Americans, so they’re totally defenseless when somebody walks into their house with a gun," the President said.
The Texas shooter tried to buy a gun but failed a background check, so he used a loophole to obtain the AR-style weapon he used in his rampage.— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) September 3, 2019
Our broken gun laws allowed him to shoot 28 people, killing 7.
The bill we passed in the House in February could have prevented this. https://t.co/2fgH407rux
Scalise returns from WH meeting to say Trump, GOP leaders did discuss gun background checks— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) September 10, 2019
But notes that the focus should be on "gaps in the current law" -- a GOP position that's helped block bills expanding background checks for decades.
Democrats are also not interested in what they view as a plan which doesn't do enough to curb guns, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has urged action on a bill which does more to focus on denying guns to people with a criminal record, or a history of mental health issues - stopping short of background checks on all private gun sales.
"If you have a federal government background check for that, what you will see the next step to be is the only way to enforce that is a federal gun registry and a gun registry is the step you need for gun confiscation," Cruz said in an interview on ABC's "This Week.""
Democrats have also been pressing to get the GOP to accept action by the feds to help states with what are called, "Red Flag laws," which can be used to take firearms away from someone who is considered a threat, or has mental health issues.
Many Republicans are opposed to this idea - though it has support from both GOP Senators from Florida, a state which changed its laws after a mass school shooting, in order allow for more opportunities to seize firearms from someone who is considered a threat, or has mental health concerns.
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