President Donald Trump claimed Monday he wants legislation providing “strong background checks” for gun users, but he provided no details and has reneged on previous promises to strengthen gun laws after mass shootings.
Trump tweeted Monday about the weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio that left 29 dead and dozens wounded . He suggested that a background check bill could be paired with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system.
But he didn’t say how or why he was connecting the unrelated issues. Both alleged gunmen were U.S. citizens, and federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive for the El Paso massacre.
Trump, who will make speak Monday at the White House, has frequently sought to tie his unrequited immigration priorities — a border wall and transforming the legal immigration system to one that prioritizes merit over familial ties — to legislation around which he perceives momentum to be building.
Over the weekend, Trump tried to assure Americans he was dealing with the problem and defended his administration in light of criticism following the latest in a string of mass shootings. “We have done much more than most administrations,” he said, without elaboration. “We have done actually a lot. But perhaps more has to be done.”
Congress has proven unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation this session, despite the frequency of mass shootings, in large part because of resistance from Republicans, particularly in the GOP-controlled Senate. That political dynamic seems difficult to change.
And Trump himself has reneged on previous pledges to strengthen gun laws. After other mass shootings he called for strengthening the federal background check system, and in 2018 signed legislation to increase federal agency data-sharing into the system. But he has resisted Democratic calls to toughen other gun control laws.
In February, the House approved bipartisan legislation to require federal background checks for all gun sales and transfers and approved legislation to allow a review period of up to 10 days for background checks on firearms purchases. The White House threatened a presidential veto if those measures passed Congress.