A bipartisan group of lawmakers made their case to President Trump at the White House on Wednesday for legislation that could prevent future mass shootings like the one last month in Parkland, Florida.
Trump said he thinks the proposed solution should be “really strong on background checks,” but ideas floated ran the gamut and darted across the ideological spectrum.
Background checks – Trump suggested to lawmakers that they merge competing measures into a single bill instead of multiple ones. Legislation with bipartisan support includes the Fix NICS Act to improve the system’s record keeping and the yet to be filed Manchin-Toomey amendment to expand background checks.
Although Trump advocated keeping measures simple and agreeable, he suggested a few changes like revising the Manchin-Toomey bill to include an age restriction on gun purchasers, merging it with the Fix NICS Act, and maybe changing the name of the Fix NICS Act.
Bump stocks – Instead of focusing on legislation to classify bump stocks as machine gun parts, the president said he’ll do it with an executive order. “I’m going to write that out,” he said, adding his lawyers are working on it right now.
Armed security – Concepts like gun free zones and school safety were often intertwined during the discussion as were armed security and concealed carry. The idea to “harden school our schools against attack” was often synonymous with posting an armed security guard. “You can’t just be sitting ducks,” Trump said. “And that’s exactly what we’ve allowed people in these buildings and schools to be.”
Mental health – Besides updating the background check system with relevant records and better communication between authorities, mental health came off as a nonstarter with lawmakers due to the broadness of defining mental illness. However, Trump agreed that media — violent movies and video games — may play a part in influencing people who have a mental illness.
Assault weapons ban – Trump said he would review materials presented to him about the effectiveness of an banning firearms and items defined in such legislation.
National Reciprocity – Although Trump expressed supported the national concealed carry bill last year, he expressed lukewarm feelings on such a measure and shot it down when it was suggested that it should advance alongside background checks.
“I think that maybe that bill will someday pass, but it should pass as a separate (bill),” Trump said. “If you’re going to put concealed carry between states into this bill, we’re talking about a whole new ballgame.”
Even though he argued more guns carriers could prevent future mass shootings, he doubted that the bill would receive enough support to pass in the Senate.
Gun buyer’s permit – The concept floated would require all patrons to obtain a permit and show it to a seller before buying a firearm. Although it would not prevent criminals from buying guns in the black market, a gun buyer’s ID card would allow law enforcement to conduct stings on black market dealers.
Firearm confiscation – Trump said that it’s up to the states to pass laws that would allow law enforcement to confiscate firearms from people believed to be a danger to either themselves or others. The concept has gained traction in many states, especially regarding individuals charged with domestic violence.
Arguments about this concept typically involve debates about due process. However, the president suggested sorting out the legality of a situation after a threat has been cleared.
“Take the firearms first and then go to court, because that’s another system. Because a lot of times, by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures,” Trump said.
“I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida. He had a lot of firearms. They saw everything. To go to court would have taken a long time. So you could do exactly what you’re saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.”