The president surprised many in the room by advocating for ideas seen as an anathema to conservatives and counter to his party’s orthodoxy, embracing a bipartisan bill to expand background checks beyond the current system and advocating for an increase in the age limit to purchase certain firearms.
While he pushed for armed security at schools, he also advised against attaching concealed-carry reciprocity policy -- a trop priority of the NRA and House Republicans -- to any legislation, noting it wouldn’t pass the Senate. Trump also went so far as to suggest that people credibly determined to be a threat to themselves or others should have their guns seized prior to court authorization.
When Vice President Mike Pence spoke about state “red flag” laws – allowing police to seize guns from those deemed dangerous before they commit a crime -- Trump lamented procedural hurdles in the court system. “By the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due-process procedures. I like taking the guns early,” he said during the hour-long televised meeting. “Take the guns first and go through due process second.”
Lawmakers implored Trump, who had lunch with executives from the National Rifle Association last week, to take the lead on legislation, arguing that he carries unique credibility with his base of supporters. Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who as a congressman in 2012 represented Newtown, where 26 schoolchildren and staff were gunned down, told the president he would need to actively cultivate support among Republicans if he is serious about expanding background checks. "I like that responsibility,” Trump said. “It's time that a president stepped up."