Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Trump, Top Congressional Democrats Remain Far Apart On Gun Control


President Trump spoke yesterday to top congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. The topic of their Sunday chat was gun control. Both sides say they want a bill, but as for what's in it, they remain far apart. Here's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Pelosi and Schumer say they insisted that gun legislation include, among other things, universal background checks for gun buyers. The Democrats' bill has already passed the House, and the Democrats blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not taking it up in the Senate. But McConnell says he will only bring a bill to the floor that he knows Trump will sign, and that's still a mystery. The White House said that after talking to Pelosi and Schumer, the president made no commitment on the House bill. Universal background checks are opposed by the NRA, and the president has never broken with the gun rights group before. Republicans in the Senate, like Kentucky's Rand Paul, are not enthusiastic. Here he is on CNN.


RAND PAUL: So I think we can make the current system work better, but the vast majority of these shootings, background checks wouldn't have helped. The vast majority of these mass shootings are purchased legally.

LIASSON: But South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for president, told CNN universal background checks are supported by 90% of Americans.


PETE BUTTIGIEG: We have an amazing moment on our hands. We have agreement among the American people for not just universal background checks, but we have a majority in favor of red flag laws, high-capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons.

LIASSON: White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, however, was more interested in pushing back against another Democratic candidate's call for the confiscation of certain semi-automatic weapons. Here she is on Fox News.


KELLYANNE CONWAY: We want this to be bipartisan, but we're not going to allow bad actors who should not have firearms in the first place, who then murder innocent Americans, to be the excuse that a bunch of liberals and socialists have to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens who have legally procured them.

LIASSON: Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke has called for weapons like AK-47 and a AR-15s to be confiscated. That call has thrilled parts of the Democratic Party's base and the Trump campaign, who sees it as a way to paint all Democrats as too extreme on gun control. Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Mara Liasson
Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.