FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he departs on travel to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas following back-to-back mass shootings in the cities, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday said he has been speaking with the National Rifle Association to ensure that the gun lobby’s “very strong views” are considered as congressional leaders weigh possible gun legislation after two weekend mass shootings.
Trump also said serious discussions between the leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate were taking place over expanding background checks for guns sales after 31 people were killed in the attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
The NRA, a key donor to many Republican senators, indicated in a statement on Thursday that it opposed any further gun restrictions.
Trump said on Twitter on Friday that he had “been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected.”
Trump’s tweets did not make clear what specific steps he would support.
“ I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country,” he wrote. “Common sense things can be done that are good for everyone.”
The two weekend massacres have shocked the country and reopened a national debate on gun safety as Americans grapple with yet another mass shooting.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has rejected a plea from more than 200 mayors to call the Senate back early from recess to consider gun legislation.
A day earlier, Trump said he wanted to strengthen background checks for gun purchases and make sure mentally ill people did not carry guns. He predicted congressional support for those two measures, but not for any effort to ban assault rifles.
Reporting by Susan Heavey; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Bill Trott