Trump open to background check on guns, says White House | world news | Hindustan Times
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Trump open to background check on guns, says White House

This is a significant step for Trump, who ran for president on the promise of protecting the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms.

world Updated: Feb 19, 2018 22:51 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US President Donald Trump at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, US, February 14, 2018.
US President Donald Trump at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, US, February 14, 2018. (REUTERS)

The White House on Monday announced that President Donald Trump was “supportive” of efforts to improve federal background checks on prospective gun buyers, days after a teenager shooter killed 17 people in a Florida high school.

Trump spoke to Republican Senator John Cornyn about a bipartisan bill that he and Democrat Chris Murphy introduced to improve federal compliance with criminal background checks, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Cornyn and Murphy had introduced the bill in November, days after a gunman killed over two dozen people in a church in Texas. The shooter — a former US air force personnel — had been able to purchase firearms despite having a criminal history.

“The president spoke to Senator Cornyn on Friday about the bipartisan bill he and Senator Murphy introduced to improve federal compliance with criminal background check legislation,” Sanders said. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.”

It is a significant step for Trump, who ran for president on the promise of protecting the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. During the 2016 campaign, Trump had aligned himself closely with the gun lobby and in February 2017, signed into law a bill revoking an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase firearms.

Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz had a long history of aggressive behaviour and violence. There were plenty of red-flags about him that were missed, and Trump pointed to that in a tweet shortly after the shooting: “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again! (sic)”

This tweet angered gun control activists, who said that the Obama regulation he revoked could have prevented Cruz from accessing weapons.