WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is taking on Congress over gun control.
He met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House Wednesday to urgently address what steps would be needed to prevent mass shootings in American schools.
During the meeting, the president was often at odds with both the National Rifle Association and some members of his own party.
He made it clear he wants steps taken to prevent tragedies like the one in Parkland, Florida.
But Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT, told the president he doubts Congress can agree on what most Americans say they want: expanded gun background checks.
"We can't get it done," he said. "Nothing else like that, where it works, people want it, and we can't do it.
Trump was more optimistic.
"You have a different president now," he said. "You went through a lot of presidents and you didn't get it done. You have a different president. I think maybe you have a different attitude, too. I think people want to get it done."
But there's wide disagreement within both political parties on what measures should be taken.
Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-CA, told the president assault weapons should be banned, something the president and the NRA have opposed.
"What do we do about weapons of war easily accessible on our streets?" she asked.
"What you'll have to do is discuss it with everybody," the president replied. "It is a very complex solution. You have weapons on the street. That's what we're talking about with black market."
"You go into a store and you can buy an AR-15," Feinstein said.
"You can," Trump acknowledged.
"You can buy a Tech N9ne (pronounced 'Tech Nine')," Feinstein continued. "I mean, you can buy all these weapons."
"This is what you'll have to discuss," Trump reiterated.
The president wants Congress to act immediately to reach an agreement. But just in case they don't, he's taking some steps of his own to move the process forward.
- Ban "bump-stock" devices that enable guns to fire like automatic weapons;
- Reform FBI programs to improve the response to tips;
- Expand access to programs to treat mental illness;
- Establish a federal task force on school safety;
- Implement a "troops to education" program to help employ more military veterans as teachers.
Trump also says he wants to "empower" some trained teachers to be able to conceal-carry guns in schools.
Finally, he wants to take what he says is a "common sense" step to raise the legal age limit to purchase a gun from 18 to 21. He'll face an uphill battle on that one. The measure is opposed by the NRA and even some Democrats.
But so far, stores like Dick's Sporting Goods and WalMart have taken steps on their own, vowing to only sell guns to people who are at least 21 years old.