- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2018

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Friday said President Trump clarified to him Thursday evening that Mr. Trump supports Mr. Cornyn’s bill aimed at improving the federal instant check system for gun transactions.

“He called me last night sort of to clarify his position, at least from a legislative standpoint, that he supported the … bipartisan background check bill that I’ve introduced,” the Texas Republican told reporters in Austin.

Mr. Cornyn said Mr. Trump is open to other ideas, like measures to improve school safety and dealing with mental health issues.

“I don’t think he’s foreclosing any of those, but I think he realizes that the best way to get a result is to start with a consensus bill like the background check bill that I introduced after Sutherland Springs and then go from there,” he said.

Mr. Cornyn spoke after voting early ahead of Tuesday’s primary elections in Texas.



The White House has said Mr. Trump supports Mr. Cornyn’s legislation to incentivize states and federal agencies to share more of their records with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

At a meeting with lawmakers this week, the president had turned some heads when he suggested that a more expansive bill extending the background checks to gun shows and online sales could serve as the basis for a comprehensive gun bill, rather than Mr. Cornyn’s.

But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday the president supports the Cornyn bill, and that he wouldn’t necessarily back the broader background check bill written by GOP Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also met Thursday with Chris Cox, who heads the National Rifle Association’s legislative-lobbying arm.

“I had a great meeting tonight with @realDonaldTrump & @VP. We all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control. #NRA #MAGA,” Mr. Cox tweeted Thursday.

Mrs. Sanders said Friday that the president only promised to the NRA that he’ll continue to support the Second Amendment.

“That’s not something that he’s backed away from,” she said. “The background check system is something that he’s still very much interested in improving.”

Lawmakers are trying to coalesce around some sort of gun-related legislation that can pass Congress in the wake of the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting in Florida that claimed the lives of 17 people.

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