Donald Trump backs improved gun background checks | News | DW | 19.02.2018
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Donald Trump backs improved gun background checks

The White House has said US President Donald Trump would back efforts to improve gun background checks. A bi-partisan bill would ensure states and agencies accurately report criminal information to the FBI.

US President Donald Trump supports an effort to improve federal background checks for gun purchases, the White House said Monday.

"While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system," Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

On Friday, Trump spoke with Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bi-partisan bill introduced with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

Read more: 8 facts about gun control in the US

The bill aims to ensure federal agencies and states comply with existing laws and accurately report criminal information to the national background check system run by the FBI. 

The legislation does not add new restrictions on gun purchases. 

Pressure for action mounts

Cornyn and Murphy introduced the legislation after more than two dozen people were killed by a gunman at a Texas church last November.

The gunman, Devin Kelly, was able to buy guns despite a domestic violence conviction while in the Air Force that should have prevented him from purchasing or possessing firearms. 

Both Congress and the president are under renewed pressure to fix the nation's gun system after a former student killed 17 people with an AR-15 style rifle at a Florida school last Wednesday.

Read more: Florida students call for gun control: 'Without action, children die'

Survivors of the Parkland shooting and their supporters plan to march in Washington next month to call for stricter gun control.

Trump has largely tried to avoid the politically divisive gun debate, instead blaming mass shootings such as the one from last week on mental-health issues.

He blamed the FBI for missing "all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter," saying that instead they were too distracted by the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Past efforts to advance comprehensive gun control reform have failed to move anywhere in Congress.

However, in a sign the Cornyn-Murphy bill could advance, the powerful NRA gun lobby said last fall that it "has long supported the inclusion of all legitimate records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System."DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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