In the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Florida last week, the White House told reporters on Tuesday that President Donald Trump is ready to discuss a range of gun restrictions that have been championed by Democrats in Congress, while also stressing that there is no quick legislative answer to such mass shootings.
Asked about the President’s past support for a ban on assault weapons, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not rule that out.
“I don’t have any specific announcements, but we haven’t closed the door on any front,” Sanders told reporters.
Along with supporting a bill to funnel more information into the instant gun buyers background check system, Sanders said the President favors tighter background checks, and did not oppose the idea of supporting new age limits for when someone can buy a weapon like an AR-15.
“I think that’s certainly something that’s on the table for us to discuss and that we expect to come up in the next couple of weeks,” Sanders told reporters, though she sounded a clear note of caution.
“Everybody wants a quick and simple answer,” Sanders added. “But there isn’t one.”
Asked about banning ‘bump stocks’ – a device which makes semi-automatic weapons fire at a faster rate – Sanders hinted that action would soon happen administratively.
“I can tell you the President supports not having the use of bump stocks, and that we expect further action on that in coming days,” Sanders said.
Not long after the briefing, the White House released a memo to the Justice Department written by the President, in which he calls for an administrative ban on the sale of bump stocks.
“Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” the President wrote.
On the issue of the “Fix Nics” bill that the President now supports, which would try to get federal agencies and states to submit more information to the instant gun sale background check database, Sanders was asked if the President supported what the House had approved, which was the “Fix Nics” bill – plus a plan that would approve national conceal carry.
“The Senate version is a little bit different, and he is generally supportive of that,” Sanders said, while leaving the President’s options open on any measures.
“School safety is a top priority for my administration,” the President said moments later at a Medal of Valor ceremony at the White House.
“We must do more to protect our children,” Mr. Trump added, without going into any detail on what he might consider.
Back in the daily briefing, Press Secretary Sanders was asked about a tweet sent out by the President in recent days, where he said the FBI had failed to pick up a tip about the Florida shooter because of an excessive focus on the Russia investigation.
“I think he’s making the point that we would like our FBI agencies to not be focused on something that is clearly a hoax, in terms of investigating the Trump Campaign,” Sanders said.