- Trump said he is “all in favor” of background checks for gun purchases Wednesday.
- His comments come after three mass shootings in a week that killed more than 30 people.
- Some Twitter users responded to his comments with criticism, while others used his words to encourage people to call their senators to promote legislation.
President Donald Trump said he is “all in favor” of requiring background checks for gun purchases during a Wednesday press pool on the White House lawn.
His comments came following three shootings across the country in a week. A shooting in Gilroy, California, on July 28 killed three and injured at least 13; a shooting in El Paso, Texas, killed 22 and injured 26 on Aug. 4; and a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, killed nine and injured at least 26.
“I’m looking to do background checks. I think background checks are important. I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate — sick people. I’m all in favor of it,” Trump told reporters. (RELATED: Background Checks Are Required To Buy Ammunition In California)
“There’s a great appetite — and I mean a very strong appetite — for background checks, and I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before. I think both Republicans and Democrats are getting close to a bill. They’re doing something on background checks.”
The president showed support of background checks after the Parkland, Florida, shooting in February 2018, but a year later, the White House threatened to veto H.R. 8, a bill that would require background checks for most gun purchases.
“The Administration opposes H.R. 8 because it would impose burdensome requirements on certain firearm transactions. … H.R. 8 contains very narrow exemptions from these requirements, and these exemptions would not sufficiently protect the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms,” an official statement from the Executive Office of the President reads.
Some Twitter users criticized Trump for his inaction on passing legislation for stronger background checks immediately following his comments.
“Trump today: ‘I think we can do something on background checks like we’ve never done before.’ Trump in 2018 after Parkland shooting: ‘We’re going to be very strong on background checks. We’re going to be doing very strong background checks,’” CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju wrote.
The DNC War Room Twitter accused the president of lying: “Trump says Congress is ‘getting close’ to a bill on background checks. That’s a lie. The House already passed a bill to require background checks on all gun sales. Mitch McConnell refuses to bring it to the Senate floor, and Trump threatened to veto it.”
After the Sandy Hook massacre Obama did a small background check measure through executive action and undoing it was one of Trump’s first moves as president,” HuffPost reporter Arthur Delaney said.
Others called out Trump for tying possible background check legislation with immigration reform legislation:
“Headline writers, be accurate: [Donald Trump] didn’t just call for background checks. He suggested tying it to immigration reform, in essence pinning the blame for violence on immigrants – just as the El Paso shooter allegedly did,” Houston Chronical editorial writer Monica Rhor said.
“President Donald Trump calls for marrying background checks and immigration reform after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. NOTE: none of the major mass shootings in this country have been carried out by immigrants. The gunmen are all American white guys,” said Greg Angel, reporter for MyNews13 Orlando.
Others used his comments to encourage people to call their senators.
“Donald Trump says he’s “all in favor” of closing the federal loophole that allows unlicensed gun sales without a background check. Call your Senators TODAY and tell them to return from recess and vote on background check and Red Flag legislation,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, wrote.
“REALITY CHECK: we don’t yet have the votes in the Senate for the Bipartisan Gun Background Checks Bills — If you refuse to live with weekly mass shootings, CALL YOUR SENATORS,” chair of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus Christine Pelosi said.