President Trump debated raising the gun purchasing age to 21, passing universal background checks and other potential methods of mass shooting prevention with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and other lawmakers yesterday.
Trump said he hopes his administration will able to take actions that address the issue of gun violence in America.
“We have to do something about (mass shootings). We have to act,” Trump said. “We can’t wait and play games and nothing gets done.”
Murphy stressed the importance of passing universal background checks, citing the “gun show loophole” that allows people to purchase guns at gun shows without passing a background check.
“I think we have a unique opportunity to pass background checks and make sure nobody gets a gun in this country who shouldn’t,” Murphy said, referencing the over 95 percent approval rating of universal background checks and the lower number of shootings in states that require them.
Part of the conversation was centered around getting guns out of the hands of people with mental illnesses, with Trump suggesting taking guns “early” from people who display serious signs of mental illness before “due process” in court.
“I like taking the guns early,” Trump said. “Take the guns first, go through the process second.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) gave a “caution on mental health.”
“I think we’ve got to concentrate not just on those who have mental health issues but on those who show a danger to themselves or others,” Grassley said.
The lawmakers also debated raising the minimum age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21.
“You can’t buy a handgun, but you can buy the weapon used in this horrible school shooting at 18,” Trump said. “It doesn’t make sense that I have to wait to buy a handgun until I’m 21 but I can buy an AR-15 at 18.”
When Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) told Trump the bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) did not raise the minimum gun purchase age to 21, the president accused him of being “afraid of the NRA.”
“They have great power over you people,” Trump said. “They have less power over me.”
Trump said, though previous presidents did not pass gun control legislation, he hopes he is the president that makes a change.
“I like that responsibility. I really do,” Trump said. “It’s time that a president steps up. Democrats and Republicans have not stepped up (in the past).”
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.