President Donald Trump stops to talk with reporters as he departs the White House. (Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford)

Trump reassures NRA it won’t be ignored in gun control talks

President says both House and Senate leaders are having ‘serious discussions’ on background checks

President Donald Trump said Friday he has reassured the National Rifle Association that its views about the right to bear arms won’t be ignored in Washington’s response to recent mass shootings.

Trump said he is talking with the NRA and others to make sure that their “very strong views can be fully represented and respected.”

“I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country,” Trump tweeted. “Common sense things can be done that are good for everyone!”

The NRA, however, is uncompromising when it comes to gun control. Association Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre said in a rare public statement Thursday that some federal gun control proposals “would make millions of law-abiding Americans less safe and less able to defend themselves and their loved ones.”

Trump did not say specifically how the NRA’s position could be reconciled with the push for new gun control measures.

He said leaders in the House and Senate are having “serious discussions” about background checks for buying guns. And he repeated his frequent statement that guns should not be “placed in the hands of mentally ill or deranged people.”

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he now wants to consider background checks and other action, setting up a potentially pivotal moment when lawmakers return in the fall.

The Republican leader won’t be calling senators back to work early, as some are demanding. But he told a Kentucky radio station that Trump called him Thursday morning and they talked about several ideas. The president, he said, is “anxious to get an outcome and so am I.”

READ MORE: Two El Paso victims die at hospital, raising death toll to 22

Stakes are high for all sides, but particularly for Trump and his party. Republicans have long opposed expanding background checks — a bill passed by the Democratic-led House is stalled in McConnell’s Senate — but they face new pressure to do something after the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead.

“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” McConnell said. “What I want to see here is an outcome.”

McConnell said he and Trump discussed background checks and “red flag” laws that allow authorities to seize firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. “Those are two items that for sure will be front and centre as we see what we can come together on and pass,” McConnell told Louisville’s WHAS-AM.

The Associated Press

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