Following a bipartisan White House meeting Wednesday in which President Donald Trump expressed interest in pursuing several Democratic-backed gun-control measures, the National Rifle Association publicly rebuked a president it enthusiastically endorsed during the 2016 election.
The “meeting made for great TV,” NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker said, but “the gun-control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe.”
During the televised discussion, Trump signaled support for ideas such as increasing the minimum age required to purchase a rifle and seizing firearms from some individuals prior to providing them due process under the law.
Several Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, have also chided Trump for his apparent concessions on the subject.
“We’re not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them,” he wrote in response to Wednesday’s meeting.
Even prominent Trump backers including Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham are issuing warnings that such a trajectory could doom his re-election chances.
Baker added to the criticism a few ideas the NRA supports to reduce gun-related deaths.
“Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic, our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies,” she said.
Baker wrote that such an effort should include “fixing the broken mental health system, strengthening background checks to ensure the records of people who are prohibited from possessing firearms are in the (National Instant Criminal Background Check) system, securing our schools and preventing the dangerously mentally ill from accessing firearms.”
While Trump described himself during the meeting as a “fan of the NRA,” he followed up by encouraging Republicans not to be “petrified” of the lobbying group’s power.
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