Politics

White House Inches Away From Age Limits for Gun Buys

Trump has not mentioned idea since Thursday after aggressively pushing it

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the east lawn of the Capitol on . Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The White House appeared Monday to back away slightly from President Donald Trump’s previous backing of age limits for the purchase of some firearms.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there is “still support” for the idea inside the West Wing but just how to bring it about is “something still being discussed.”

Trump has not mentioned nor tweeted about the idea in several days after aggressively pushing it late last week. During an hour-long event earlier Monday with the nation’s governors, the president mentioned other things he supports — including background check system changes and arming school employees — but not age limits for certain kinds of firearms.

On Thursday, he tweeted his desire to “Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue — I hope!” But he did not mention it Friday when he took questions for nearly four minutes en route to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And it did not come up during his lengthy and wide-ranging remarks at CPAC shortly after.

Watch: Trump Plays to Crowd at CPAC

The president fired off a number of tweets over the weekend, but none pitched the age limit idea. He did, however, have lunch Saturday with top National Rifle Association leaders.

“The president is still supportive of the concept” of setting age limits for some gun purchases, Sanders said Monday. But she added it would be premature for the White House to comment further since plans and legislation to do that are still being mulled.

White House aides continue saying they are still considering whether Trump will submit a legislative framework to Congress — like he did on immigration — once he has completed a number of listening sessions on the subject. So far, he has huddled with Parkland survivors, state and local officials, and the group of governors on Monday.

That process will continue later this week when the president is slated to meet with Republican and Democratic lawmakers that the White House.

That is slated for Wednesday, Sanders said as Trump tries to determine whether there is any possibility that Republicans and Democrats can find enough — or any — common ground on legislation to address school shootings in the wake of the Parkland high school massacre. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., two lawmakers about as opposite as one can usually get, are co-sponsoring legislation to streamline the criminal background check system for gun purchases. 

As lawmakers returned to Washington on Monday, there was no movement toward that legislation or a handful of other possible bills — and Republican leaders have been nearly silent on the matter.

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