President Donald Trump seems to be pressing the breaks when it comes to implementing tougher background checks.
The president told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that he believes there are already “very strong background checks” and expanding them would be a “slippery slope” when it comes to the Second Amendment.
“We have very, very strong background checks right now,” Trump said, adding that they’re “looking at different” options and he believes gun violence is a “mental problem.”
“I’ve said it a hundred times it’s not the gun that pulls the trigger, it’s the person that pulls the trigger,” he said.
The president continued to point out a “slippery slope”:
“The Democrats, I believe, I think they’d give up the Second Amendment. A lot of the people who put me where I am are strong believers in the Second Amendment. And I am also. … You know they call it the slippery slope. And all of a sudden everything gets taken away. We’re not going to let that happen”
Trump’s remarks make it appear that he is pulling away from his previous statement that “we need intelligent background checks,” following the two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
He also previously sounded upbeat on the fact that he was “convinced” that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would toughen background checks, amid pressure from congressional Democrats for McConnell to call congress members back from August recess to bring up gun control legislation for a vote.
See Trump’s comments below:
Pres. Trump again appears to back away from endorsing stronger background checks, declines to say if he'd support congressional gun reform bills: "It is a mental problem, and I've said it 100 times, it's not the gun that pulls the trigger, it's the person" https://t.co/CckMLTg2Fv pic.twitter.com/dUyZBBk23J
— ABC News (@ABC) August 20, 2019
Trump has already been met with criticism for appearing to step back from his stance on enhancing background checks.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told NBC News “Meet the Press” early Wednesday that only with the president’s leadership will they be able to get gun control legislation passed. He went on to blast Trump for “walking back from an opportunity for real leadership on this issue.”
Additionally, 2020 Democratic hopeful Cory Booker (D-N.J.) put the blame on Trump, claiming he’s “not accepting responsibility for a crisis. In fact, he’s contributing to it, and that’s unacceptable,” he told CNN on Wednesday.
McConnell previously expressed support to have “bipartisan discussions” once Congress returns from August recess, but it’s unclear how or if Trump’s latest comments will impact those discussions on gun control legislation.