Trump ‘supportive of efforts’ to update background check system after Florida shooting

Posted on: February 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Chip Somodevilla/Staff/Getty(WASHINGTON) — The White House says President Donald Trump is “supportive of efforts” to update the nation’s background check system in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting last week that killed 17 people, many of them teenagers.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday the president spoke with Texas Sen. John Cornyn on Friday about legislation he introduced last year following the Sutherland Springs mass shooting that took place in Cornyn’s home state.

“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” Sanders said.

That bill, co-sponsored by leading gun control advocate Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who saw 20 children killed in his home state in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, calls for making updates to the background check system to ensure that states and federal agencies have up-to-date and accurate information on individuals prohibited from buying firearms.

The bill, called the Fix NICS Act, referring to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, is endorsed by major gun rights organizations, including the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

While any action the administration takes in the wake of Florida is expected to stop short of any proposal that would amount to gun restrictions, sources tell ABC News that the president has repeatedly said “we have to do something” in the wake of the Florida tragedy. Principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said late last week that “mental health and school safety” would be at the forefront of any policy prescriptions the administration may pursue.

“The president wants to take leadership and actually fix this problem and create best practices across the country,” Shah said on FOX News late last week.

This week, the president is set to turn his focus to the issue of school safety with a “listening session” on Wednesday with high school students and teachers. And on Thursday, he will meet with state and local officials on the issue.

This is the fourth mass shooting that President Trump has had to respond to since becoming president, and in the wake of those other shootings, the administration has repeatedly pivoted away from having a conversation on gun control measures and has instead put the focus on mental health.

Following the shooting in Sutherland Springs last year, the president said, “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a guns situation. I mean, we could go into it, but it’s a little bit soon to go into it.”

Since last week’s shooting, the president has not said it’s too soon to talk about gun control but he has twice ignored questions about whether there should be changes to the nation’s gun laws.

The only time the president has previously expressed an openness to some sort of regulation relating to guns was in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, when he said the administration would be “looking into” bump stocks regulation.

“We’ll be looking into that over the next short period of time,” the president said back in October. But ultimately, a bill that would have addressed the issue of bump stocks died in Congress. After passing the House, the measure stalled in the Senate.

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