Trump tweeted his strong stance one day after an emotional White House session where victims of the Florida school shooting told wrenching tales of lost lives and pleaded for action.
US President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures on Thursday, including raising the minimum age to 21 for possessing a broader range of weapons than at present. He tweeted his stance as president one day after an emotional White House session where students and parents poured out wrenching tales of lost lives and pleaded for action.
I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
The current federal minimum age for buying or possessing handguns is 21, but the minimum age is 18 for rifles including assault-type weapons such as the AR-15 used by a former student in last week's attack on a Florida high school that killed 17 students and staff members.
A White House official said the president was not endorsing or ruling out any specific policy.
In another tweet, Trump repeated his urgent call for trained teachers or others in schools to carry guns as a deterrent to attacks.
TRT World's Jon Brain has more on the story.
He has previously expressed an interest in efforts to strengthen the federal background check system. It was not clear if he would back closing loopholes that permit loose private sales on the internet and at gun shows.
The National Rifle Association on Wednesday quickly rejected any talk of raising the age for buying long guns to 21.
"Legislative proposals that prevent law-abiding adults aged 18-20 years old from acquiring rifles and shotguns effectively prohibits them for purchasing any firearm, thus depriving them of their constitutional right to self-protection," the group said in a statement.
Trump, despite his new push for at least some gun-control changes, stressed his backing for the NRA on Thursday, tweeting that "the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
On Wednesday, Trump listened intently at the White House as students described the horror of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida. The students and their parents appealed to him to press for stricter gun controls.
"I turned 18 the day after" the shooting, said tearful student Samuel Zeif. "Woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don't understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war. An AR. How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How do we not stop this after Columbine? After Sandy Hook?"
Trump promised to be "very strong on background checks." And he indicated he supported allowing some teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons to be ready for intruders.
The president had invited the teen survivors of school violence and parents of murdered children in a show of his resolve against gun violence in the wake of last week's shootings in Florida and in past years at schools in Connecticut and Colorado.