Trump urges lawmakers to consider raising minimum age on rifles

Trump urges lawmakers to consider raising minimum age on rifles
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp Anti-abortion Dem wins primary fight Lipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fight MORE urged Congress on Wednesday to consider increasing the minimum age for buying a rifle, and urged lawmakers to not be afraid of opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA).  

"This is not a popular thing to say in terms of the NRA, but I'm going to have to say it. ... I think it's something you have to think about," Trump told a bipartisan group of lawmakers during a White House meeting. 

Trump added that raising the age limit has been brought up to him repeatedly since 17 people were killed in the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, saying "I would give very serious thought to it." 

The suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, allegedly used an AR-15 rifle during the shooting. Federal law enforcement officials told The New York Times that the gun was purchased legally.

Trump's doubling down on raising the minimum age for buying a rifle from 18 to 21 pits him squarely against the NRA, as well as some Republican lawmakers who have been wary of the idea. 
Trump's remarks also come after White House staffers appear to be trying to temper Trump's support for the proposal.
"In concept, the president still supports it, but in terms of legislation, we'd need to see what that looks like before we weigh in further," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Monday.
Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley also appeared to hint on Tuesday that the president was backing away from the idea, saying it "should be noted" he didn't bring it up during the meeting with governors.

 “That should be very telling to people out there who have heard this president talking about raising the age to 21,” he told WMAL, a D.C.-based radio station.