Trump gives support to toughest gun control measures in decades

Tanja Babich Image
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Trump backs gun control
President Trump gave his support to what would be the toughest gun control measures in decades Thursday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLS) -- President Donald Trump gave his support to the toughest new restrictions on guns in decades Thursday.

Trump unveiled his top gun and school safety priorities, which included arming highly trained teachers, improving background checks, and raising the age limit for all gun purchases to 21. He also voiced his support for legislation that helps states detect and report potential threats to schools.

The president also held a meeting at the White House Thursday morning with police and families impacted by school shootings, including survivors of the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida.

During a bipartisan meeting Wednesday, Trump called for Democrats and Republicans to work together on wide-ranging gun control measures to combat school violence.

However, the president raised eyebrows during that meeting for his comments on how to take guns away from people identified as potential threats.

"I like taking the guns early," Trump said Wednesday. "Take the guns first go through due process second."

National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch later defended due process on Fox News.

"The NRA is also going to protect due process for innocent Americans," Loesch said. "That is an approach that we are going to hold to."

On Thursday, Trump tweeted, "many ideas, some good and some not so good, emerged from our bipartisan meeting on school safety yesterday at the White House. Background checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment."

As a candidate, Trump promised that he would support the NRA. While he praised the organization as "true patriots" Wednesday, he repeatedly took positions that put him at odds with both the NRA and Republican Congressional leaders, such as advocating for raising the minimum age to buy assault weapons.

Trump also earned a fist-pump from California Senator Dianne Feinstein for his support of a ban on concealed weapons carried across state lines.

"I just don't think you're going to get it approved, you're not going to get concealed carry approved," Trump said. "Amy and Diane and a lot of other people, they're never going to consider it. People may consider it but they're not going to consider this bill."

Trump also embraced Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy's call for background checks on all gun purchases. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly rejected such checks.

"You have a different president now," Trump said in response to Murphy, who expressed the difficulty of implementing background checks. "You went through a lot of presidents and didn't get it done. You have a different president. I think maybe you have a different attitude, too. I think people want to get it done."

When Murphy told Trump that he would have to bring the Republicans to the table, Trump said he thought "it's time that a president stepped up."