Trump pledges respect for gun lobby after twin massacres

National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre rejects calls for tougher restrictions on firearms in the wake of last weekend's mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. – EPA pic, August 9, 2019.

US President Donald Trump today said he is talking to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to ensure its “very strong views” on gun control are respected in the wake of last weekend’s back-to-back shootings, pitching himself as the country’s biggest supporter of gun rights.

He confirmed that he has spoken to leaders of the powerful gun lobby since the massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which left 31 people dead and reignited calls for stricter controls.

“I have… been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected,” he said on Twitter.

“Guns should not be placed in the hands of mentally ill or deranged people. I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country. Common sense things can be done that are good for everyone.”

Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s leader, yesterday rejected calls for tougher restrictions on firearms, and indicated that he has raised those concerns with Trump.

“The inconvenient truth is this: the proposals being discussed by many would not have prevented the horrific tragedies in El Paso and Dayton,” he said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has rebuffed calls to bring senators back from their summer recess to vote on gun control legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives.

“I want to make a law, not just see this political sparring going on endlessly,” he told NewsRadio 840 WHAS in Kentucky, adding that a possible ban on assault weapons will “probably be discussed as well” when lawmakers return next month.

The El Paso and Dayton shooters used semi-automatic weapons, which can be legally bought in most US states, to mow down large numbers of people in minutes, or even seconds.

The Second Amendment, which enshrines the right of US citizens to bear arms, has long been used to justify easy access to weapons designed for warfare.

Trump regularly touts himself as its biggest supporter, and days after coming into office, signed a resolution passed by the Republican-led Congress to undo a Barack Obama-era regulation limiting gun sales to the mentally impaired. – AFP, August 9, 2019.

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