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Trump phoned Democratic senator to talk gun control

The Hill logo The Hill 4 days ago Brett Samuels
Chris Murphy wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a door: Trump phoned Democratic senator to talk gun control © Greg Nash Trump phoned Democratic senator to talk gun control

President Trump said Tuesday he spoke with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) about pressing forward on background checks in the wake of recent mass shootings.

"We had a very good conversation. We'll see what happens," Trump told reporters while en route to a speech in Pennsylvania.

Murphy has been a leading advocate for more gun control laws since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in his state in 2012. He tweeted Tuesday that he'd spoken with Trump and Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) about support for background checks legislation.

"We continue to work to find common ground, but as I told the President, we can't get a bill if he and the GOP give the gun lobby veto power," Murphy tweeted.

The president has been adamant that he supports passing stronger background checks after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left more than 30 people dead and dozens wounded. But it's unclear if there will be enough GOP support in the Senate to pass such legislation.

Trump on Tuesday reiterated that he believes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is in favor of taking action on gun safety.

"Look, it's very simple: There is nobody more pro-Second Amendment than Donald Trump, but I don't want guns in the hands of a lunatic or a maniac," he said. "And I think if we do proper background checks, we can prevent that."

But there is reason to be skeptical. Trump has in the past voiced support for stronger gun laws only to back off amid pressure from the National Rifle Association and limited GOP buy-in.

Manchin and Toomey previously unveiled background check legislation which failed by six votes in the Senate in 2013 following the Sandy Hook shooting. It is unclear whether attitudes have shifted enough to change the outcome in 2019.

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