WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump reversed himself on firearms restrictions Wednesday, saying he supports background checks one day after saying he didn't want to go down the "slippery slope" of eroding gun owners' rights.
Trump confirmed that he discussed background checks with Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, but he disputed news reports that he told LaPierre that background checks were off the table.
“I have an appetite for background checks,” Trump said from the White House South Lawn as he departed for an event in Louisville, Kentucky. “We’re going to be doing background checks. ... We’re going to be filling in some of the loopholes.”
Trump said he wants to get guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable and said he considers mass shootings a public emergency.
“I want guns to be in the hands of people who are mentally stable,” he said.
Tuesday, Trump backed away from supporting stricter gun measures, saying laws were already "very strong."
"We have very strong background checks right now," he said.
Trump emphasized his staunch support for the Second Amendment.
Tuesday, Trump spoke on the phone with the NRA's LaPierre.
According to the outlets, Trump told LaPierre that comprehensive background checks for firearm purchases were no longer under consideration and that the White House would advocate for other measures concerning mental health or the prosecution of federal gun crimes.
The NRA confirmed that a call took place, posting a message Tuesday on Twitter from LaPierre that he spoke to the president.
"We discussed the best ways to prevent these types of tragedies. @realDonaldTrump is a strong #2A President and supports our Right to Keep and Bear Arms," LaPierre wrote through the official NRA account.
I spoke to the president today. We discussed the best ways to prevent these types of tragedies. @realDonaldTrump is a strong #2A President and supports our Right to Keep and Bear Arms! – Wayne LaPierre
— NRA (@NRA) August 20, 2019
The NRA has vehemently opposed the imposition of stricter background checks for firearm purchases, but strife at the organization gave gun control advocates hope that stricter measures could be passed.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump spoke with the NRA's Wayne LaPierre on gun background checks