Donald Trump stuns lawmakers with call for tighter gun control
President appears to break from Republican Party line by opposing NRA
Donald Trump has “stunned” lawmakers by telling congressional Republicans and Democrats in a live broadcast not to be so “petrified” of powerful gun lobby the National Rifle Association (NRA).
In what the BBC describes as “a break from his party’s stance on gun control”, the US president urged lawmakers to come up with a “strong” reform bill on firearms in the wake of the Florida school shooting that left 17 dead in February.
Trump made the remarks during an “extraordinary hour-long White House meeting on Wednesday”, The Guardian reports. Urging lawmakers to work together on bipartisan legislation, the president proposed the creation of a “beautiful” comprehensive bill that would expand background checks on gun purchases; remove guns from the hands of the mentally ill; bolster security on school campuses; and restrict young people from purchasing certain weapons.
He also warned lawmakers against proposing a bill that included a pro-concealed carry measure, giving gun owners permission to carry a firearm out of view in public places - a provision that Republicans and the NRA have aimed to include in any gun legislation.
The NRA has “great power over you people”, Trump said, but “less power over me”.
“Democrats walked away stunned and with some tepid optimism that something substantial could happen on guns,” CNN reports, “while Republicans appeared flummoxed.”
Following the meeting, conservatives and some Republican lawmakers turned on Trump, who was elected “with broad support from the gun lobby”, says The Guardian.
“Trump the Gun Grabber: Cedes Dems’ Wish List” was the headline on Breitbart News, the far-right news website that, under the editorship of Steve Bannon, helped Trump win the presidency in 2016.