Trump closes in on back­ground check de­ci­sion, key sen­a­tors say

‘Some­thing ac­cept­able to everybody’ is what the pres­i­dent seeks.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump may soon an­nounce whether he will sup­port a Se­nate bill ex­pand­ing back­ground checks for com­mer­cial gun sales, a bi­par­ti­san group of sen­a­tors said Wed­nes­day.

The news comes about a month af­ter a mass shoot­ing in Day­ton’s Ore­gon Dis­trict killed nine peo­ple and in­jured 27. There were sev­eral other mass shoot­ings in re­cent weeks in­clud­ing one in El Paso, Texas that killed 20.

Trump, speak­ing to re­porters in the Oval Of­fice, said he and law­mak­ers were “work­ing very, very hard to­gether” and “see­ing if we can come up with some­thing that’s ac­cept­able to everybody.”

Trump spoke for about 45 min­utes on the phone with the trio of sen­a­tors at the cen­ter of back­ground check talks.

Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Pa­trick J. Toomey, R-Pa., and Christo­pher S. Mur­phy, D-Conn., told re­porters the pres­i­dent

dis­cussed op­tions for se­cur­ing a po­ten­tial deal.

“We’re look­ing at back­ground checks and we’re look­ing at putting ev­ery­thing to­gether in a uni­fied way so that we can have some­thing that’s mean­ing­ful,” Trump said, adding that, “At the same time, all of us want to pro­tect our great Sec­ond Amend­ment. It’s very im­por­tant to all of us.”

Sen­a­tors said they are ex­pect­ing an an­nounce- ment from the White House within days.

“It sounds like they’re go­ing to try to have some an­swer for us as to whether they can come to the ta­ble on back­ground checks in the next 24 to 48 hours. Maybe that time­line will slip,” Mur­phy said. But he added: “I do think we’re get­ting to the witch­ing hour.”

Manchin and Toomey said they fo­cused their dis­cus­sions on in­creas­ing back- ground checks for com­mer­cial sales, say­ing go­ing fur- ther would be un­ac­cept­able to many Repub­li­cans.

Trump was “very en­gaged, per­son­ally ask­ing thought­ful ques­tions, ask­ing rea­son- able ques­tions” through­out the call, Toomey said.

Ohio re­ac­tion

U.S. Sen. Rob Port­man, R-Ohio said he was “en­cour- aged” by the dis­cus­sions.

“I agree there is more we can do to try and keep guns out of the hands of dan­ger- ous peo­ple. I am en­cour­aged that bi­par­ti­san dis­cus­sions are on­go­ing and hope that both par­ties will con­tinue to work to­gether to­wards this goal,” Port­man said.

Sen. Sher­rod Brown, D-Ohio, said the ball is in Trump’s and Se­nate Ma­jor- ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell’s court.

“Peo­ple don’t have to keep dy­ing, and we have the power to stop it,” Brown said. “But noth­ing can hap­pen un­til Pres­i­dent Trump, Leader McCon­nell and Repub­li­cans in Congress stop work­ing for the NRA and start work­ing to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe.”

Just back from a meet­ing with the U.S. Con­fer­ence of May­ors in Wash­ing­ton, Day­ton Mayor Nan Wha­ley on Wed­nes­day said Demo- cratic and Repub­li­can may­ors are uni­fied in sup­port of back­ground check changes.

“There are so many gap­ing holes in back­ground checks that now one out of ev­ery five pur­chases goes around that sys­tem,” Wha­ley said.

Jim Irvine of the Buck- eye Firearms As­so­ci­a­tion said back­ground checks are al­ready done on most gun sales. He also said the sys­tem is “flawed.”

“There’s no point in do­ing a back­ground check if the data­base that you’re check- ing peo­ple against is flawed. We know our data­base is flawed. If you don’t fix the data­base noth­ing else mat­ters,” he said. “It is shock­ing the num­ber of war­rants and crim­i­nal stuff that is not en­tered into the na­tional data­base in Ohio.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine re­cently tasked Lt. Gov. Jon Husted to work with law­mak­ers to cre­ate a bet­ter sys­tem for back­ground checks in Ohio and im­prov­ing the tech­nol­ogy.

Irvine said he wants Trump to take ac­tion in fix­ing the Na­tional In­stant Crim­i­nal Back­ground Check data­base for back­ground checks. But as far as re­quir­ing back­ground checks for pri­vate gun sales, he doesn’t see a ben­e­fit.

“Think about au­to­mo­biles. We buy and sell cars...If you re­quire everybody to pay ex­tra money and go through a back­ground check to buy a car, would we re­duce car ac­ci­dents? Would we make peo­ple bet­ter driv­ers? Would you re­duce crim­i­nal homi­cides from ve­hi­cles? No, you’re not. And do­ing it in guns isn’t go­ing to re­duce that ei­ther,” Irvine said.

Wha­ley says back­ground checks do have a ben­e­fit.

“This whole ar­gu­ment that crim­i­nals are go­ing to get guns any­way so we make it re­ally easy for them to do that, I don’t think that makes a lot of sense,” Wha­ley said. “It’s kind of like peo­ple are go­ing to die in cars, so let’s all stop driv­ing. We have to have guardrails on these sys­tems and back­ground checks is the best way that makes the most sense, that pro­tects the Sec­ond Amend­ment.”

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