The White House is reportedly still considering enacting gun control legislation, a trio of senators revealed after speaking with President Trump on the phone for about 40 minutes.
Democrat Senator Joe Manchin was on the call and said the lawmakers pitched their desire to expand background checks for all commercial gun sales.
Manchin, who recently switched political party affiliations, described the conversation as “very engaging” and “encouraging,” ABC News reports.
“It was a very engaging conversation,” Manchin told a group of reporters. “The president’s still very encouraging and I believe sincerely wants to move forward and do something. We’re going to know, hopefully by tomorrow, if there’s something that we can all agree on.”
Republican Senator Pat Toomey clarified Trump did not commit to any of the policy changes that were pitched.
“I want to be clear. The president did not make a commitment to support any particular bill or any particular thing, but he did strongly convey an interest in doing something meaningful and something that we would be able to embrace and that could pass,” Toomey said.
ABC News reports:
A source familiar with the talks, which included Manchin, Toomey, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who favors far more expansive gun control measures, said there was no agreement by the president on when he would reveal his highly-anticipated decision; rather, White House staff is expected to present options to Trump in the next 24 to 48 hours. Then Trump would be left to make a decision.
“We’re getting to the witching hour” for a decision, Murphy said.
Shortly after a series of tragic shooting incidents over the summer, including incidents in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, where more than 30 people were killed, Trump said he would be discussing with lawmakers what could be done to prevent future incidents. He echoed this commitment on Wednesday.
“We are looking at background checks, and we are looking at putting everything together in a unified way so that we can have something that’s meaningful and at the same time all of us want to protect our great second amendment,” Trump said to ABC’s Jordyn Phelps.
“We’ll see if we can come up with something that’s acceptable to everybody,” Trump continued, adding that he has another meeting with lawmakers to discuss gun control on Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear that he will not commit to putting any legislation on the floor for a vote until the president makes clear what he supports and the leader knows the legislation can become law.
“My members know the very simple fact that to make a law you have to have a presidential signature,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday, noting that Administration officials are “working on coming up with a proposal that the president will sign. Until that happens, all of this is theatrics.”
Polls show some of the measures under active consideration are highly-politically popular.
In a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 89 percent support background checks for all gun purchases, including private and gun show sales; and 86 percent back “red flag” laws allowing the police to take guns from individuals found by a judge to be a danger.