“We need intelligent background checks. This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat,” he said on Aug. 9.
But now, as time has elapsed, and with Congress still away on its August recess, Trump on Sunday appeared to back off on any new push background checks, again calling mental health the actual problem.
PHOTO:President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., Aug. 18, 2019.
“I’m saying Congress is going to be reporting back to me with ideas,” the president told reporters as he prepared to board Air Force One in Morristown, New Jersey.
“And they’ll come in from Democrats and Republicans. And I’ll look at it very strongly. But just remember, we already have a lot of background checks. OK?”
Congress passed legislation — FIX NICS –in the aftermath of the Sutherland Springs Church shooting in Texas in November 2017 that claimed 26 lives. The measure was aimed at penalizing government agencies for not reporting into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
But whether there’s political support in Congress for stronger background checks is still in question.A billproposed by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey would significantly extend background checks to include gun shows, and even internet sales.
Trump previously said background checks would keep guns out of the hands of “sick” and “deranged” people, although medical experts say mental illness is not the main reason shooters carry out mass murders, such as the El Paso and Dayton shootings.
These are people that have to be in institutions for help,” he said. “I’m not talking about as a form of a prison I’m saying for help.”