But then, as he is doing now, he backed away from the issue amid pushback from the NRA and Republicans.
Donald Trump called for 'strong background checks' after El Paso and Dayton. Now? Crickets
Trump is wary of any action that might hurt his support among conservative voters as he faces re-election with weak poll numbers and amid warnings of an economic recession. Democrats have called on the Senate to return to Washington and vote on legislation passed by the House that would expand background checks for gun purchases.
Polling consistently shows an overwhelming majority of Americans — including Republicans — support expanding background checks to include all gun purchases. Despite widespread support for such measures, Republican lawmakers remain reluctant to take action.
Trump has previously suggested Congress do more to prevent gun violence. The gunman, year-old Seth Ator, tried to buy a gun through a licensed dealer in but failed the required federal background check. He purchased his AR-style rifle through a private vendor.
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A study by Harvard and Northeastern universities found that one in five American gun owners got their firearm without undergoing a background check. A study by Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the major gun control advocacy groups, counted 1. None of those guns would require a background check for purchase.
READ: Did the assault weapons ban really work? That's complicated.
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Federal background checks are now required at licensed vendors such as Walmart, local gun stores, or even gun manufacturers who set up shop at events like the annual NRA convention. Under federal law, anyone who purchases a gun through a licensed vendor is automatically subject to a background check. READ: Walmart is ending the sale of most ammo and would like you to leave your guns at home.