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Chris Murphy "skeptical" of White House work on guns

Behind Trump's changing stance on guns, taxes

Leading gun control advocate Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, says he's skeptical that conversations with the White House about stemming gun violence will "bear fruit." Still, after his latest round of talks with White House officials, Murphy seemed cautiously optimistic about President Trump's seriousness about gun safety, citing the president's recent flip-flops in messaging on guns. 

[Mr.] Trump "told me personally that he was indeed serious about moving forward together on what he called 'meaningful background checks legislation,'" Murphy said at a press conference in Hartford Friday. "They are open to leading on this issue and trying to bring Republicans along with them." The senator said that the president was well aware that Senate Republicans wouldn't back such a bill unless he did and told CBS News that Mr. Trump "needs to get behind a specific proposal" in order to seal the deal. 

While he put chances of a deal on a gun background checks bill at "less than 50-50", Murphy told reporters he's going to try to advance it. Murphy told CBS that such legislation in his eyes has to include a "massive expansion" with the number of background checks done for guns sold commercially as well as in in gun shows. 

"It's my primary obligation," he said. "I believe that the White House is still committed to trying to work on a comprehensive, anti-gun violence proposal." Murphy conceded, however,  that just because the president is "publicly entertaining the idea" of background checks, "doesn't mean we'll be able to thread this needle."

As a congressman Murphy represented the district in Connecticut where a gunman massacred 26 people, including 20 six- and seven-year-old children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2015. He said it's "heartbreaking" that the country and Congress only seriously consider changing gun laws after a high-profile mass shooting. 

Lawmakers have felt the pressure during the August recess to return to Washington and consider legislation that provides more oversight in gun ownership and purchases. 

The senator said in his mind, legislation to encourage the adoption of more state so-called "Red Flag" laws or extreme risk protective orders, which he thinks will have a better chance of passing than sweeping background checks, but he was uncertain how states that don't have red flag laws on their books would enact a federal version. Red flag laws enable family members or law enforcement to obtain a court order from a state court to quickly remove firearms on a temporary basis from those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

For now, the House Judiciary Committee plans to return early from the summer recess to consider three bills that directly address gun violence, including legislation on red flag laws.  

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