WASHINGTON – President Trump is open to the idea of improving federal background checks on gun purchasers who may be mentally unstable in the wake of last week’s mass killing at a Florida high school, his spokeswoman said Monday.
“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
The statement came less than a week after a student was charged with killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Sanders confirmed that Trump spoke on Friday with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., about a bill he has introduced with Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., designed to improve the sharing of mental health and criminal record information between state and local agencies and the federal background check database.
The Cornyn-backed bill, introduced after a November shooting at a church in Texas, would provide financial incentives to states and federal agencies to work harder to comply with laws requiring them to report criminal and mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Gun sellers are required, in most circumstances, to run the names of would-be gun buyers through the system to ensure they are not barred from purchasing firearms.
The shooter at the Texas church had been allowed to buy guns despite having a criminal record because the Air Force failed to share his records with the FBI.