President Trump told the authors of the Manchin-Toomey background check bill that it doesn't go far enough because they are "afraid of the NRA." The bipartisan bill to expand background checks on gun sales has repeatedly failed to pass in the Senate since first being introduced in 2013.
At a bipartisan meeting at the White House Wednesday afternoon, President Trump asked Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) why their bill doesn't address changing the age to buy rifles to 21 from 18.
"You know why? Because you're afraid of the NRA, right? Ha ha."
"These are great patriots. They love our country," Trump said about the National Rifle Association. "But that doesn't mean we have to agree on everything. It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18."
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You can't buy a handgun at 18, 19 or 20. You have to wait till your 21, but you can buy the gun, the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18.
You are going to decide, the people in this room pretty much, you're going to decide. But, I would give very serious thought to it. I can say that the NRA is opposed to it and I'm a fan of the NRA. I mean, there's no bigger fan. I'm a big fan of the NRA. They wanted to -- these are great people.
These are great patriots. They love our country. But that doesn't mean we have to agree on everything. It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18. I don't know.
So I was just curious as to what you did in your bill. You don't address it?
SEN. PAT TOOMEY: We didn't address, it, Mr. President. But I think we...
TRUMP: You know why? Because you're afraid of the NRA, right? Ha ha.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN: It wasn't an issue five years ago, it didn't come up.
TRUMP: It's a big issue right now, and a lot of people are talking about it. But a lot of people -- a lot of people are afraid of that issue. Raising the age for that weapon to 21.
TOOMEY: Yes, I have a suggestion, because my reservation about it, frankly, is that the vast majority of 18, 19, and 20-year olds in Pennsylvania who have a rifle or a shotgun, they're not a threat to anyone. They're law-abiding citizens. They have that because they want to use it for hunting or target shooting, and to deny them their 2nd Amendment right is not going to make anyone safer. So that's my reservation about changing the age.
Video via CNN