Gun violence in the US

Trump supports improved background checks for gun purchases after Florida school shooting

Trump has backed a 2017 bipartisan bill aimed at improving national background checks; he has not supported new legislation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 February, 2018, 12:39am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 3:28am

US President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve federal background checks for gun purchases, two days after a shooting at a Florida school killed 17 people, the White House said on Monday.

Trump spoke to Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, about a bipartisan bill that he and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy introduced to improve federal compliance with criminal background checks, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” Sanders said in a statement.

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Sanders’ carefully worded statement comes days after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead. It stops short of an endorsement of the proposal.

The bill, called the Fix NICS Act, would ensure that states and federal agencies comply with existing law on reporting criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is used to verify the criminal history of gun buyers.

Cornyn, upon introducing the bill, called authorities’ use of the system “lousy”.

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The bill, introduced after a mass shooting in Las Vegas last October - the deadliest by an individual in US history - and days after a gunman killed more than two dozen people in a church in Texas, has stalled in Congress.

Trump, who campaigned on loosening gun laws during his 2016 presidential bid, has not supported any new limits to gun ownership while in office.

The FBI disclosed that it failed to follow up on a detailed warning about the 19-year-old Florida gunman, and police said they had received more than 20 calls about him in the past few years, according to the Associated Press.

Survivors of the Florida high-school shooting are planning a “March For Our Lives” in Washington on March 24 to call attention to school safety and ask lawmakers to enact gun control.