Trump seems to backtrack on background checks

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 5, 2019 - Duration: 02:20s

Trump seems to backtrack on background checks

After calling for stronger background checks on Twitter, President Donald Trump quickly changes gears, instead proposing tighter monitoring of the internet, mental health reform, and citing violent video games for the rise in mass shootings.

Nathan Frandino has more.

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Trump seems to backtrack on background checks

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I'm open and ready to listen to all ideas that will actually work." In the wake of the weekend's shocking back-to-back gun massacres, President Donald Trump has vowed to take "urgent action," and in an early morning tweet Monday, even suggested he'd support, quote, "STRONG BACKGROUND CHECKS" to buy firearms. But in a rapid reversal his CRITICS SAY IS ALL TOO FAMILIAR, Trump HOURS LATER SAID NOT A WORD ABOUT BACKGROUND CHECKS in his remarks on the latest in a LONG LINE of mass shootings, from Sandy Hook to Parkland and now El Paso and Dayton.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer quickly jumped on Trump's TURNAROUND on background checks, in a statement, calling him a prisoner to the gun lobby and the NRA.

Trump has indeed called for background checks before, after the Parkland, Florida school shooting, only to back off that time as well.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We got to do background checks.

If we see a sicko, I don't want them having a gun." Then and now, such ideas face fierce pushback from most Republicans, including Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who has rejected a bill requiring universal background checks, which the Democrat-led House passed months ago.

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan says McConnell needs to order Congress back from recess.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REP.

TIM RYAN, (D) OHIO, SAYING: "Mitch McConnell needs to get off his ass, get the Senate back in session, and start passing some of these bills that we're sending over to him." So far Trump's only move on guns has been to ban bump stocks - the rapid-fire add-ons that can turn a semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun.

That move came after a gunman massacred a record 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas.

After the weekend's carnage by two lone shooters, Trump on Monday instead proposed mental health reform, tighter monitoring of the internet, and a crackdown on violent video games.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately." Former President Barack Obama condemned the violence in a statement Monday, saying, quote, "until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws... these tragedies will keep happening." Without Trump's backing, gun measures such as stronger background checks are given almost no hope of making it through Congress.

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