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President Trump enters talks with Democratic lawmakers on gun control package, with focus on stronger background checks
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President Trump enters talks with Democratic lawmakers on gun control package, with focus on stronger background checks

Unclear if red-flag laws are involved

President Donald Trump reportedly had a positive phone call with Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) about the possibility of pursuing bipartisan gun control legislation, according to the New York Times.

The conversation took place Sunday, and the two reportedly agreed to have their staffs convene along with the staffs of Sens. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to discuss legislation to create a more stringent background-check process for gun purchases.

Politico reported that White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland is taking the lead in these talks, indicating that the president's calls for gun control legislation following the recent mass murders is more than just talk.

The talks will reportedly focus on a potential revival of a bill Manchin and Toomey authored in 2013 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The bill sought to expand federal background checks to be required for purchases from gun shows and online sales, but stopped short of requiring them for private exchanges of weapons between friends or family members.

Recognizing fears from gun rights advocates about the creation of a national gun owner registry, the bill explicitly stated that nothing in it would "allow the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a federal firearms registry."

Proposals to expand background checks for gun purchases poll well nationally as a perceived simple and "common sense" way to combat mass murders like the ones seen in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, recently. However, opponents of expanding background checks would argue that proper enforcement and application of the current background check system is what's needed, not an expansion of the background check system itself.

Also, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action points out that mass murderers typically pass background checks to purchase guns legally, or they obtain the gun in a way that would be unaffected by any expansion of the background check system, such as theft, underground sales, or by getting it from a family member or friend.

(H/T: Hot Air)

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