- President Donald Trump is open to supporting legislation on gun background checks, the White House said Monday.
- The president had spoken with Sen. John Cornyn about the legislation on Friday.
- Trump has been criticized for his response to last week’s high-school shooting that left 17 people dead.
The White House on Monday signaled that President Donald Trump was open to supporting legislation on guns in the wake of the Florida high-school shooting last Wednesday that left 17 people dead.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump spoke with Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, about his bipartisan bill to improve federal compliance with criminal background checks on gun buyers. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, is a cosponsor of the legislation.
“The President spoke to Senator Cornyn on Friday about the bipartisan bill he and Sen. Murphy introduced to improve Federal Compliance with Criminal Background check Legislation,” Sanders said. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system.”
The bill would penalize federal agencies that fail to provide the necessary records and reward states that comply with federal grant preferences and other incentives.
The senators introduced the background check bill in November after two of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history – one in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and another at a church in Texas in which 26 people died.
Murphy previously represented the Connecticut district that includes Newtown, where a 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School left 20 children and six others dead.
Trump has earned criticism for his response to the shooting, which police say came at the hands of a Nikolas Cruz, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a 19-year-old former student of the school. The FBI said Friday that it had failed to follow proper protocol when it received a tip about Cruz last month.
Trump on Saturday tied the FBI’s mishap to its handling of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying the FBI was “spending too much time” on the Russia investigation. Trump also blamed Democrats on Saturday for not acting on gun-control legislation under President Barack Obama.
“How dare you?” David Hogg, a 17-year-old student of the school and survivor of the shooting, said on “Meet the Press.”
“You are in that exact position right now, and you want to look back on our history and blame the Democrats?” he added. “That’s disgusting. You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us. How dare you?”
The Associated Press contributed reporting.