President Donald Trump's openness to extensive background checks for gun purchases has drawn a warning from the National Rifle Association and concerns among White House aides, The Washington Post reported.
According to the Post, which cited unnamed sources, NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre spoke with Trump on Tuesday after the president expressed support for a background check bill and told him it would not be popular among Trump's supporters. He also argued against the bill's merits, the officials said.
The two men had several more calls Wednesday, White House officials said, the Post reported.
Trump has waffled between wanting to do more and concern that doing so could prompt a revolt from his political base, the Post repotted.
"I don't think the president or his Republican allies are going to become out of nowhere advocates of aggressive gun control," Matt Schlapp, who leads the American Conservative Union and is a close ally of Trump, told the Post.
"He seems determined to do something and believes there is space to get something done this time around," said Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told the Post. "The president has a pretty common-sense point of view. He's never been a sports or gun enthusiast. But he is more determined than ever to do something on his watch."
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who co-sponsored legislation with Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., to expand background checks to nearly all firearm sales, said he told Trump he would need to back any gun-control legislation or it would fail again.
"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," Manchin told the Post. "They won't be able to do it."
Sen. Toomey told the Post he has spoken with the president at least three times since the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. He called the talks "encouraging" and "very recent."
"I will just tell you generally the president is open-minded about this," Toomey told the Post.
According to the Post, any Capitol Hill push to implement firearms restrictions is likely to face, at a minimum, skepticism from conservatives.
"The question is, what difference can the federal government make in what is largely a state decision?" Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., one of the most vocal advocates of gun control in Congress, has said, the Post reported.
"I'm all for federal action on extreme risk protection orders. I'm just not sure it's going to move the needle."
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