Trump To Meet With Gun Victims, Backs Safety Measures Amid Pressure To Act

President Trump will spend Wednesday and Thursday meeting with people who have firsthand experience coping with mass shootings, a move that underscores his administration’s newfound push for policy solutions for the problem of gun violence.

The White House has faced surging levels of activism in the days since 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a troubled teen with a well-documented history of threatening behavior, gunned down 17 of his former classmates and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Students who survived the massacre have since implored legislators to take action and have demanded that Trump lead the effort.

A Republican close to the White House said the student-led outcry has “had a tremendous impact on President Trump,” who visited with victims of the shooting last Friday and will host a listening session this week with students and parents who have been impacted by the Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Columbine shootings.

“Obviously, the president was moved by the situation in Florida,” said veteran GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “He also ran as a public safety, law-and-order president, so this is unacceptable under his watch.”

O’Connell attributed Trump’s softer language on gun control to “this specific tragedy, but also the overall promise he made in his campaign to the American people." He said the White House “wants to do something concrete” this time around.

The White House has been working with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, in the days since the Parkland shooting to determine whether there is a viable path forward for a bill that would improve the federal background check system. Cornyn unveiled the measure last November with Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and though similar language has already passed the House, the legislation has stalled in the Senate.

Proponents of the bill claim it would have prevented a gunman in Texas, who had been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, from purchasing the weapon he used to kill 26 parishioners at a church in Sutherland Springs last November.

“President Trump wants to strengthen the background check system, that way all relevant information is given to all authorities that are going to then run background checks,” White House officials wrote in a document distributed to allies on Tuesday morning, and later obtained by the Washington Examiner.

“With background checks and the Second Amendment, it always comes out as an R versus D situation. But it’s really more of an urban versus rural situation,” said O’Connell. “If you look at some of these key areas, like in Nevada, you’re not seeing the Democrat go nuts or pulling guns out of people’s hands. So this is going to be more of a regional, rural-urban solution, I think.”

Read more from Gabby Morrongiello at the Washington Examiner

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