The NRA is reportedly warning Trump that supporting universal background checks will hurt him politically

Associated PressDonald Trump and former NRA executive Wayne LaPierre.
  • The chief executive of the National Rifle Association is warning President Donald Trump against backing expanded background checks on gun sales, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
  • The Post said Trump is showing interest in backing legislation to strengthen background checks on people seeking to purchase firearms in the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
  • But both NRA executive Wayne LaPierre and Trump’s own aides have intervened and are trying to talk Trump out of supporting stronger background checks, sources told the Post.
  • According to a Morning Consult/Politico poll released on August 7, 90% of Republicans and Trump 2016 voters and 89% of those who currently hold a favourable view of Trump support mandatory background checks on all gun sales.
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The chief executive of the National Rifle Association is warning President Donald Trump that backing expanded background checks on gun sales would hurt Trump’s standing among his core base of supporters, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The Post said Trump is showing interest in backing legislation to strengthen background checks on people seeking to purchase firearms in the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people and injured dozens of others in the course of 24 hours.

But both NRA executive Wayne LaPierre and Trump’s own aides have intervened and are trying to talk Trump out of supporting stronger background checks, sources told the Post, which reported that LaPierre argued that Trump’s own supporters do not approve of expanding background checks.

In February, the House of Representatives passed two bills to require background checks on all private gun sales and increase the amount of time required to process a background check – neither of which Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

LaPierre’s claim that Trump supporters aren’t in favour of background checks is not, however, backed up by recent polling data, which shows overwhelming support for universal background checks across the political spectrum.

According to a Morning Consult/Politico poll released on August 7, 90% of Republicans and Trump 2016 voters and 89% of those who currently hold a favourable view of Trump support mandatory background checks on all gun sales.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are similarly teaming up on a Senate bill to expand background checks to virtually all private sales, and both told the Post they had spoken to Trump in recent days making the case for the bill – which the NRA does not support.


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Manchin said that any legislation expanding background checks would need Trump’s support to have a fighting chance on Capitol Hill, telling the Post that he expressed to Trump that “if you don’t stand up and say, ‘This is a piece of legislation I support,’ we’re not going to get enough cover to have Republicans stand tall. They won’t be able to do it.”

The Post also reported that Trump is questioning whether the NRA – which has had a huge influence over Republican lawmakers for decades but is currently weathering a number of financial and legal scandals – still holds the same level of sway within the GOP.

After the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, the Trump administration similarly defied the NRA by banning bump stocks – devices that allow shooters to fire multiple rounds more quickly.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s allies on the hill, told the Post he’s optimistic that Trump “seems determined to do something and believes there is space to get something done this time around,” adding, “he’s never been a sports or gun enthusiast. But he is more determined than ever to do something on his watch.”

Read more:

GOP congressman advocates universal background checks after previously voting against a background check bill

Trump and other politicians keep blaming violent video games for mass shootings. That just doesn’t add up.

Gun control really works. Science has shown time and again that it can prevent mass shootings and save lives.

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