The Latest: Democrat pleased with Trump support on gun laws

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump, Congress and guns (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

One of the Senate’s leading gun control proponents says he is pleased that President Donald Trump expressed support for expanded background checks and other measures during a bipartisan meeting at the White House.

But Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut says he is “worried that this was the beginning and the end of the president’s advocacy on this issue.”

Murphy, who has long pushed for stronger gun control, says the question now is whether Trump will follow through on ideas expressed at Wednesday’s meeting. He says if Trump sends a proposal to Congress “and sends his people up here to forcefully lobby for universal background checks, they will pass.”

If such a proposal fails, Murphy says the blame will go to the White House and Republicans in Congress.


5:15 p.m.

The top Republican sponsor of legislation to require background checks for a broader range of gun sales says he is optimistic that support from President Donald Trump could drive it to passage.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey says “with his support I think we can get it across the goal line.”

Toomey spoke to reporters after returning from a White House meeting on gun control and school safety issues in which Trump supported the idea of universal background checks for gun purchases. The current system requires background checks for purchases from gun dealers but not on weapons bought at gun shows or in private transactions.

The legislation failed in 2013 after the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The powerful National Rifle Association is opposed.


3:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is urging Republicans to set aside efforts to expand the concealed carrying of firearms in legislation pending in Congress.

He is telling lawmakers considering ways to respond to the deadly Florida school shooting, “You’ll never get it passed.”

Trump says the concealed carry provision is a “whole new ballgame” and should be in a separate bill.

The House approved the bill late last year as part of a broader package that also expanded gun rights by requiring states to recognize conceal-carry permits issued by other states.

Some House Republicans are resistant to separating the two issues, as is likely in the Senate.


3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he wants Congress to put a number of gun safety measures into a Senate bill that would bolster background checks.

Trump is urging lawmakers to add their best ideas to a proposal pushed by Texas Sen. John Cornyn to improve background checks.

Trump is telling members of Congress that “you have a different president now,” pointing to the failure of past attempts to address gun violence during past administrations.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, is urging the president to stand up to the gun lobby. He is telling the president that “it’s going to have to be you who brings the Republicans to the table on this.”


3:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump is convening a bipartisan group of lawmakers to find ways of addressing gun violence. Trump says, “We have to do something about it.”

Trump tells the members of Congress that he’s going to “come up with some ideas” and he’s expressing hope that those ideas could be put in a “bipartisan bill.”

The president says he doesn’t want to wait several weeks and then have people forget. He says these “horrible mass shootings are nothing new,” pointing to past shootings such as Columbine, Fort Hood and Sandy Hook.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who is pushing a bill to improve background checks, says leaving Washington “empty-handed is not accepted.”


10:15 a.m.

Senate Democrats want President Donald Trump to follow through on his push for “comprehensive background checks” for gun buyers. And they’re pressing him to endorse legislation that would extend the pre-purchase checks at least to online and gun show sales.

They’re making their case in a letter to Trump before the president hosts a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to discuss school safety and possible gun legislation.

Trump tweeted over the weekend that he’d strongly be pushing “Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health.”

The Democratic senators say in their letter that “we couldn’t agree more.”

Legislation in the Senate would to close what critics call the gun show and online sales loophole. The Democrats say if Trump gave an endorsement, that measure would stand a better chance of passage.


12:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump has invited a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the White House to discuss school safety and possible gun legislation.

One of Trump’s top gun safety proposals after the Florida school shooting was raising the age to purchase some rifles from 18 to 21. But that idea appears to have receded after Trump’s lunch last week with leaders of the National Rifle Association.

On Capitol Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan is showing showed little interest in stricter gun control proposals being floated in Congress.

He seems to be leaving the issue in the hands of wary Senate leaders and the president — whose shifting views have left no clear strategy for legislative action.

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