AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
- President Donald Trump‘s two eldest children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are taking opposite sides on the gun debate.
- Members of Congress from both parties are pushing for gun safety measures including expanded background checks after two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people.
- Ivanka, a White House advisor, has publicly called for stricter background checks and "red flag" laws that empower law enforcement to remove guns from people they deem to be a threat.
- But Don Jr., an avid hunter, is reportedly warning his father that expanded background checks and red flags could infringe on the civil liberties of gun owners and would be unpopular, despite polling data to the contrary.
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As President Donald Trump considers whether to support stricter gun control measures in the wake of two recent mass shootings, his two eldest children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are taking opposite sides on the gun debate.
After two deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people and injured dozens more in the course of one weekend, several members of Congress undertook a new push for stricter background checks on firearms purchases.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia are now lobbying the president to support a bipartisan amendment that would extend mandatory federal background checks to private firearms sales at gun shows and over the Internet.
Ivanka, who holds an unpaid position as a senior advisor at the White House, posted in social media to encourage Congress to "close background check loopholes."
She also called on Congress to expand the use of extreme risk protection orders, also known as "red flag laws," which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from people they determine to be a danger to themselves or others.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s key allies of Capitol Hill, is planning to introduce legislation in the Senate to bolster the use of red flag laws.
On Tuesday, Axios reported that Ivanka has made calls to lawmakers, including Manchin, to ask questions and learn more about his bipartisan amendment and other potential gun bills, which Trump has reportedly expressed interest in backing.
But some of Trump’s advisers and his son Don. Jr, an avid hunter, are warning his father that expanded background checks and red flag laws could infringe on the civil liberties of gun owners and would be unpopular among conservatives, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The Journal reported that Trump called his eldest son "my gun expert" at a recent fundraiser in the Hamptons, saying, "he knows more about guns than anyone I know."
Last week, the Washington Post reported that Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the powerful National Rifle Association, further discouraged Trump from supporting expanded background checks, arguing that Trump doing so could cost him crucial support.
But in a national Morning Consult and Politico poll conducted from August 5-7 after the shootings, 90% of self-identified Republicans, 2016 Trump voters, and those who held a favorable view of Trump all supported mandatory background checks on all gun sales.
In the same poll, 87% of Republicans and 86% of those who strongly approve of Trump further supported prohibiting firearm sales to people who "have been reported as dangerous to law enforcement."
While Congress is on August recess, the Journal and other outlets have reported that White House staff are holding meetings with congressional aides to determine which legislation the White House should support, if any.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he does not plan to bring gun legislation to the floor of the Senate that wouldn’t have the necessary support to pass, and he said last week that he was "anxious to get an outcome" without specifically getting behind the Manchin-Toomey amendment or any other proposals.
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- The NRA is reportedly warning Trump that supporting universal background checks will hurt him politically