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Politics & Policy

Dem. Senator: Trump Is ‘Serious’ about Bipartisan Background-Check Legislation

Sen. Chris Murphy at a Capitol Hill press conference, Washington, D.C. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said Friday that he believes President Trump may still try to get Republicans on board with legislative efforts to tighten background checks for gun purchasers, although he admitted he is still unsure of how hard Trump is willing to push.

“The president and the White House have been clear that they are willing to support background-checks legislation that might not today be popular in the Republican party,” Murphy told reporters. “The president and the White House has [sic] made it clear that they are open to leading on this issue and trying to bring Republicans along with them.”

Murphy, who has been a prominent gun-control advocate since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, met with White House staffers and spoke to Trump personally on the phone about the issue earlier this month. He said that during their phone call, Trump “told me personally that he was indeed serious about moving forward together on what he called meaningful background-checks legislation.”

Under pressure from the National Rifle Association, Trump has waffled on whether to move forward with background-check legislation, which is not popular within his party.

“We are going to be doing background checks. We already have very strong background checks but we are going to be filling in some of the loopholes,” Trump said Wednesday, adding that he had made no promises on the matter to NRA president Wayne LaPierre. At the same time, he said he was wary of the “slippery slope.”

“A lot of the people that put me where I am are strong believers in the Second Amendment, and I am also,” he said. “They call it the slippery slope. All of a sudden everything gets taken away. We’re not going to let that happen.”

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