Trump Calls For Expanding Background Checks, but Wants Legislation Tied to Immigration Reform

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn as he arrives at the White House, Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Washington. Trump returns from a visit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea as well as the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)


President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Monday morning to signal his openness to expanding background checks on gun purchases.

In response to the tragic mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Trump called for bipartisan legislation that would strengthen (likely through expansion) background checks for gun purchases, an already contentious proposal by legislative standards, but called for it to be tied to an equally contentious policy: reforming immigration.

Expanding background checks is not a new position for Trump who, prior to running for president had been a proponent of action on gun control. However, tying such legislation to immigration reform could prove contentious in Congress.

Gun lobbyists will see expanding the background check system as a loss, prompting Republicans to be wary, at best, of the President’s proposal. Democrats, meanwhile, have been extremely reluctant to give up any ground in the immigration battle. As a result, the President’s call to action may have no effect on Congressional plans.


The President’s call, however, is a notable one. Few Republican leaders go this far when it comes to responding to mass shootings in the United States – fewer still are Republican presidents who do. It could mark a shift in how Republicans address the issue, ceding some ground to the Democrats. The Democrats, however, could likely see immigration reform as ceding much more ground to the Republicans and refuse to negotiate.

The shootings in Texas and Ohio have once again prompted fierce outcries against gun proliferation in the United States.


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