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Published: Monday, February 26, 2018 @ 8:01 AM
In a White House meeting with the nation's Governors, President Donald Trump on Monday reiterated his call for legislative action by the Congress on matters related to gun violence, saying he had told leaders of the National Rifle Association that "we need to do something," as he pressed Congress and the states to do their part to prevent future school shootings.
"We've got to do background checks," the President said, once more emphasizing closer checks dealing with mental illness. "If we see a sicko, I don't want him having a gun."
Mr. Trump said he had already been lobbying leaders of the National Rifle Association to help with changes related to gun violence, telling the Governors he had lunch with NRA leaders over the weekend.
"Don't worry about the NRA," the President said in a meeting in the East Room. "They're on our side."
"We continue to mourn the loss of so many young lives," Mr. Trump said, "but we'll turn our grief into action," as the President said too often there is a mass shooting - and no answers.
"A week goes, by let's keep talking," the President said. "Two months go by, and we're on the next subject."
As he has since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida earlier this month, the President again endorsed action on a series of matters, including having certain teachers and administrators carry concealed weapons, banning devices like 'bump stocks' which make semi-automatic weapons fire faster, and ensuring that more information gets into the federal background check system for gun buyers.
While the Governors and the President engaged in a back and forth about school safety, there was one interesting moment as the Governor of Washington, Democrat Jay Inslee, directly challenged the President's idea of arming certain teachers and school administrators.
"I just suggest we need a little less tweeting right now and a little more listening," said Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, as he gave the back of the hand to the President's idea of having teachers carry concealed weapons.
While the President talked about having action, down Pennsylvania Avenue on Capitol Hill, there is no sense of imminent action on guns, which has always been a politically difficult matter to consider in the House and Senate, no matter what party is in charge.
The last gun-related measure to pass was a bill in the House that combined a plan to make changes in the instant check system related to mental health concerns - but that was combined with a bill that forces states to honor concealed carry permits issued in another state.
For now, that combo bill seems to have no future in the Senate.
In his meeting with the Governors, the President also again weighed in on the school security aide who waited outside, and did not confront the school gunman.
"I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon," the President told Governors, saying he thought the officer's failure to act was 'disgusting.'
"He choked," the President said. "A lot of people choked in that case."