Trump stuns allies by showing support for stronger gun control

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with bi-partisan members of Congress to discuss school and community safety in the wake of the Florida school shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

United States President Donald Trump surprised lawmakers Wednesday by signaling support for strong gun control policies, something that contradicts the stance of his allied Republican lawmakers.

During a televised meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House, the president made indications of support for various policies, which included strengthening background checks, raising the minimum age required to buy firearms, and taking guns away from the mentally ill.

“I want you to come up with a strong bill – and really strong on background checks,” the president said during the meeting, urging officials from both parties to work on bipartisan legislation. He called representatives from both sides to “turn our grief into action” and move in a bipartisan way to end the senseless violence of mass shootings.

In a bold statement, Trump also said that police should be empowered to confiscate guns from individuals who are deemed dangerous even before due process could be done. “Take the guns first, go through due process second,” he said.

The president also repeatedly came at odds with his Republican colleagues, berating them and accusing them of being afraid of the National Rifle Association (NRA) over the issue of gun control.

“Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can’t be petrified,” Trump said while boasting that he has pushed the leaders of the NRA to back some reforms to the current gun regulations over the weekend.

The NRA, on the other hand, said that Trump’s remarks during the televised meeting “made for great TV,” but would ultimately make for bad policy if he decides to implement them.

“While today’s meeting made for great TV, the gun-control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe,” Jennifer Baker, spokeswoman for the NRA, said in a statement. “Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic, our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies.”