The National Rifle Association quickly moved to lobby President Trump against supporting a bipartisan expanded gun background checks bill despite overwhelming public support, The Washington Post reports.
Trump visited El Paso and Dayton after last weekend’s mass shootings on Wednesday and told reporters there was “great appetite for background checks” following the attacks, which killed 31 people.
Trump similarly backed expanded background checks after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last year, though he ultimately caved after pressure from the gun group.
According to The Post, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre spoke with Trump on Tuesday and told him “it would not be popular” among the president’s supporters. He also “argued against the bill’s merits,” The Post added.
Background checks appear doomed after NRA intervention:
The NRA opposes the background checks bill, which is co-sponsored by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey in the Senate. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not bring any gun bill to the floor without wide Republican support.
“Trump has waffled, current and past White House officials say, between wanting to do more and growing concerned that doing so could prompt a revolt from his political base,” The Post reported. “Even some supporters of the Manchin-Toomey bill, which would expand background checks to nearly all firearm sales, say it is unlikely to pass.”
Trump wants to act on guns but worries about NRA blowback:
The Post reports that Trump has convened aides to discuss the issue and even discussed a Rose Garden bill-signing ceremony despite no bill being close to passing Congress.
“He seems determined to do something and believes there is space to get something done this time around,” said close Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham. “The president has a pretty common-sense point of view. He’s never been a sports or gun enthusiast. But he is more determined than ever to do something on his watch.”
According to polls, 9 in 10 Americans support background checks for all gun purchases, including more than 8 in 10 Republicans.
Manchin told The Post that Trump wanted legislation before September but also expressed concerns over the NRA warning.
“We talked about that,” Manchin said. “I told him, we don’t expect the NRA to be supportive. Mr. President, in all honesty, when you did the bump stocks, they weren’t for you. They were against that, too. You didn’t take any hit on that.”