Assoicated Press/Alex Brandon
- Following his talks with NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and gun rights activists, President Donald Trump struck a different tone on potential gun regulations in the weeks after two mass shootings.
- The NRA reportedly launched a campaign to contact lawmakers in the wake of the back-to-back El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shootings on August 3-4.
- Trump also personally spoke to LaPierre multiple times, according to several news reports earlier this month.
- The shift comes after Trump signaled he was willing to broach the topic of universal background checks.
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Following his talks with NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and gun rights activists, President Donald Trump struck a different tone on potential gun regulations in the weeks after two mass shootings, according to a New York Times report.
The NRA reportedly launched a campaign to contact lawmakers in the wake of the back-to-back El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shootings on August 3 and August 4. Both gunmen wielded assault-style rifles in the separate shootings that killed 31 people.
Trump personally spoke to LaPierre multiple times, according to several news reports that were published earlier in August. LaPierre was said to have voiced his displeasure on expanded background checks, a potential piece of legislation that received bipartisan support in Congress.
LaPierre reportedly claimed the proposed legislation would not align with his supporters’ views, a source familiar with the conversation previously said to CNN.
Immediately following the shootings, Trump signaled he was willing to broach the subject.
"Well I’m looking to do background checks," Trump said to reporters. "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."
But in the weeks since, Trump said he was "very concerned" with the Second Amendment and claimed, "people don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now."
Trump reportedly privately noted the waning influence of the non-profit organization, which was shaken by a tumultuous leadership scandal earlier this year and is embroiled in numerous lawsuits, including one by the New York attorney general’s office for its finances.
A White House spokesman told The Times that Trump’s recent comments were not a reversal of his prior statements.
Democratic leaders did not remain optimistic for a potential policy shift from the White House.
"We’ve seen this movie before: President Trump, feeling public pressure in the immediate aftermath of a horrible shooting, talks about doing something meaningful to address gun violence," Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement on Monday. "But inevitably, he backtracks in response to pressure from the NRA and the hard-right."
"These retreats from President Trump are not only disappointing but also heartbreaking, particularly for the families of the victims of gun violence," Schumer added.
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