WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump reassured the National Rifle Association in a Thursday evening meeting of his support for Second Amendment gun rights but stuck by his proposal to set a minimum federal age of 21 to buy long guns, his press secretary said on Friday.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders also indicated that Trump does not support universal background checks for gun buyers, which would expand to include sales at gun shows and over the internet that are currently exempt. The president wants to improve the current system but is "not necessarily" in favor of background checks for all gun purchases, she said.
Trump's Oval Office meeting with NRA lobbyist Chris Cox, which was not listed on his public schedule, came a day after he'd rattled his allies among gun rights groups by telling lawmakers to send him a bill with a number of limits on gun ownership, including the age limit to buy assault weapons like the one used last month in the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school and several others.
Cox disclosed the meeting on Twitter on Thursday night, writing that it was "great" and that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence "support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don't want gun control." Trump then also called the meeting "great" in a tweet.
Trump supports a bipartisan Senate bill that would make more modest changes to the federal background check system, to better ensure that state, local and federal agencies send incriminating information on individuals to the database used to check gun store purchases, Sanders said. As for other gun controls, she said, "we'll see what the legislation looks like."
While reaffirming Trump's support for an age limit for some buyers, which the NRA opposes, Sanders seemed to signal a retreat: She said the president believes "there's not a lot of broad support" for the idea, and that perhaps the issue is one for the states to deal with.
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