US President Donald Trump has defied the National Rifle Association (NRA) and fellow Republicans in pushing for tougher gun control laws during a meeting with Congress members in Washington.
The ABC reported today that Mr Trump criticised politicians during the White House talks for being too fearful of the NRA and dismissed the legislative strategy of Republicans that has stalled action in Congress.
The Republican President, endorsed by the powerful gun lobby in his 2016 campaign, has been wary of angering voters who oppose any curbs on gun ownership, particularly ahead of the November elections in which his party’s control of Congress will be at stake.
But on Wednesday, at the start of a freewheeling televised session that stretched for an hour, Mr Trump pushed Congress to go big on the bill.
He said he met with NRA officials on Sunday and told them: “It’s time. We’ve got to stop this nonsense. It’s time.”
“They have great power over you people. They have less power over me,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump spoke approvingly of expanding background checks for gun buyers and raising the legal age to buy rifles to 21 from 18, saying he would give serious consideration to an idea rejected by the NRA.
“You have to be very, very powerful on background checks. Don’t be shy. Very strong on mentally ill,” he told the Congress members.
“And don’t worry about bump stocks, we’re getting rid of it. It’ll be out.”
The President rejected the way Republican leaders in Congress have framed the gun debate, saying the House-backed bill linking a background check measure with a bill to expand gun rights by allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines was not the right approach.