President Trump: ‘We have to do something’ after massacre
(WASHINGTON) — Sources with direct knowledge of President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida high school shooting confirm to ABC News that the president has said on multiple occasions, including Friday morning, that “we have to do something.”
White House sources tell ABC News that it remains unclear what exactly the president wants to ultimately do, but he does want to know what options are available to the administration.
A source confirmed to ABC News that, since the shooting, members of the administration have reached out to survivors, relatives of victims and locally elected officials in communities that have previously faced a school shooting.
Axios reported Friday that White House officials were in the process of contacting individuals connected to past mass shootings such as Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School, sites of some of the most deadly mass shootings in modern American history.
Reached by ABC News, several families who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook told ABC News Friday that they have not been contacted by the Trump administration.
The president tweeted Friday morning that he is “working with Congress on many fronts,” but did not elaborate.
Appearing on Fox News, White House spokesman Raj Shah said the administration will be looking into a host of potential policy prescriptions going forward, with “mental health and school safety at the forefront.”
“The president wants to take leadership and actually fix this problem and create best practices across the country,” Shah told FOX.
Shah said there will be discussions soon with the nation’s governors at the National Governor’s Association and said state and local leaders will be at the forefront of efforts in charting out a path for preventative next steps.
President Trump has been a close ally of the National Rifle Association, securing their endorsement during the 2016 election. Almost every day during the race, Trump would talk about the Second Amendment.
“I love the Second Amendment. I’m a member of the NRA. My sons are members of the NRA. I’m the strongest on the Second Amendment.”
The NRA spent $30 million in support of efforts to elect Trump, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Trump was the first sitting president in decades to address the NRA’s convention last year.
“The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” Trump told the gathering.
However, Trump’s position on gun policy has evolved.
In his 2000 book “The America We Deserve,” Trump seemed to take a different stance, especially in regards to assault weapons.
“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he said. “With today’s Internet technology, we should be able to tell within 72 hours if a potential gun owner has a record.”
Going back to the campaign, Trump came out against the NRA in allowing people on the no-fly list to purchase guns.
“We have to make sure that people that are terrorists or have even an inclination toward terrorism cannot buy weapons, guns,” Trump told ABC News last year.
Asked if his position is that those on the no-fly or terror watch list should not be able to purchase a gun, Trump responded, “I’d like to see that, and I’d like to say it. And it’s simpler. It’s just simpler.” Trump later took a meeting on the subject with the NRA.
A White House source told ABC News Friday that one of the areas the president has asked about in meetings since this week’s shooting is the background check process.
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