As lawmakers prepare for the next session of Congress in September, many observers are wondering how members will respond to the recent mass shootings – one in El Paso, Texas, and another in Dayton, Ohio.
The Trump administration has said it will soon introduce a legislative package with several gun control proposals, but it’s unclear what those proposals will include.
Anita Kumar is a White House correspondent for Politico and an associate editor, and says Trump is looking at mental health and video games as possible areas for policy change. But she says his approach to gun control is what people seem to care about most
“He’s gone a little bit back and forth,” Kumar says. “[But] what we are hearing from the White House, though, is that there will be some changes to background checks.”
She says that doesn’t necessarily mean that background checks will be expanded, but that Trump might seek to make them more effective. One way is to deal with the various loopholes in the system, she says.
Right now, Kumar says the House of Representatives want background checks for anyone purchasing a gun – even for sales among relatives, for example. But she says the Republican-dominated Senate will never approve that. Instead, she says the Senate wants so-called universal background checks, which would apply to all commercial gun sales, including at stores, online and at gun shows.
However, Kumar says, “It’s unclear that the president is gonna go [for] that.”
She says instead, Trump might just try to better enforce the data retention for those background checks. She says often, information about people who would normally be barred from purchasing a gun doesn’t make it into the background-check system.
“So there’s a lot of talk about making it better system, as opposed to increasing the number of people who go through it,” Kumar says.
But it’s unclear what Trump will actually do because he historically speaks strongly about a better background-check system after mass shootings, but then relents. The White House, Kumar says, disagrees with that narrative.
“They say that he’s not changed at all, that people have just misinterpreted what he’s said,” Kumar says. “[That] he is supportive of some changes to background checks.”
Written by Caroline Covington.