WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said Monday that if necessary, he will fight against the National Rifle Association (NRA) as he looks at ways to prevent another mass shooting of the kind that left 17 dead at a Florida high school earlier this month.
At a meeting in the White House with a majority of the nation’s governors, Trump said he could easily resolve his differences with the NRA, a group with which he has had close relations up to now, in the debate about preventing more fatal shootings in the nation’s schools.
“Don’t worry about the NRA, they’re on our side. Half of you are so afraid of the NRA. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Trump said.
“And you know what, if they’re not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while, that’s OK. Sometimes we’re going to have to be very tough and we’re going to have to fight ‘em,” he added.
The NRA has opposed, for now, two Trump proposals: raising the minimum age for buying a long gun under US federal law from 18 to 21, and banning bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to vastly increase the firing rate.
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch told ABC News on Sunday that the organization does not support any ban on bump stocks.
Nonetheless, Trump insisted on the ban this Monday, recalling that he had instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop measures to prohibit those lethal devices.
Trump, who almost a year ago promised the NRA that they would have a friend in the White House, and who received some $30 million from the group for his electoral campaign, said Monday that he had lunched over the weekend with the leaders of the organization, Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, to bring their positions on the matter closer together.
Earlier during the meeting with the governors, Trump again criticized the response of security forces to the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland, Florida.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office disclosed Thursday that Scot Peterson, the armed school resource deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, remained outside the building as 19-year-old shooter Nikolas Cruz went on his rampage.
“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon. I think most of the people in this room would’ve done that too,” Trump said Monday.