WASHINGTON — President Trump said the time was now for lawmakers to come together and pass new laws for “meaningful” background checks on gun purchasers as he left the White House on Friday for a political fund-raiser in Southampton, NY, followed by a vacation at his golf club in New Jersey.
“We need intelligent background checks,” Mr. Trump said in brief remarks to reporters less than a week after mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 people dead. “This isn’t a question of N.R.A., Republican or Democrat.”
He said there is “tremendous” support for “really common-sense, sensible, important background checks.” He added that he was confident that the gun lobby, which in the past has been effective in resisting such measures, would ultimately agree or “be more neutral.” And he asserted that the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was “on board.”
But while Mr. Trump suggested there was a greater will now for new gun measures than after previous mass shootings, there were no new major signals on Friday from the National Rifle Association, the White House or Capitol Hill that action on the politically fraught issue of gun rights was closer to compromise or resolution.
The National Rifle Association’s position on new gun safety measures had not changed. The association’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, said Thursday that additional background check measures being discussed in Washington “would not have prevented the horrific tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.”
The organization has succeeded in the past in convincing Mr. Trump to abandon certain gun control efforts. Mr. Trump on Friday said he had a “great relationship” with the association and reaffirmed his support for the Second Amendment.
Mr. Trump has not defined what “meaningful” background checks entail. On Friday, he suggested that a minor’s record, which is typically expunged when he or she turns 18, should be visible to those reviewing a prospective gun buyer’s background.
“I think a lot of really meaningful things on background checks will take place,” Mr. Trump said.
On Thursday, Mr. McConnell signaled that he would at least be open to considering new legislation, though he did not call the Senate back from its August recess to address the issue immediately.
Mr. McConnell on Thursday said gun control measures the Senate would consider would include so-called red flag laws, which are designed to make it easier for the authorities to take firearms from people considered potentially dangerous. Those laws depend on someone — such as a friend or family member — contacting the authorities with concerns about someone before they act..
Some 17 states have versions of the red flag laws. Texas and Ohio are not among them.
Democrats have said that a red flag law alone would not be enough, and new legislation would have to include requiring background checks for all prospective gun purchasers.