In a little over an hour on Wednesday, Donald Trump threw years of Republican dogma on guns out the window.
The president met with the group along with Vice President Mike Pence after accusing Republicans of being afraid of the NRA and the power they wield on Capitol Hill during a bipartisan White House meeting discussing tougher gun laws Wednesday.
But then came Trump's meeting, which one source described as throwing a wrench in those plans and delaying the policy rollout. He alarmed some civil libertarians and gun-control opponents alike by suggesting, "Take the guns first; go through due process second". Trump also mentioned arming teachers, and said his administration, not Congress, would ban bump-stock devices that enable guns to fire like automatic weapons with an executive order.
It's unclear how Trump now feels about such proposals after his meeting with the NRA.
Cox then retweeted Mr. Trump, who said he had and "Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!"
But Trump will still play a critical role in determining whether enough Republicans are willing to come to the table on guns, Manchin and others said.
Republicans and Democrats said what they pass in Congress, if anything, depends on Trump's leadership, after 17 students and adults were killed February 14 in a mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school in which authorities have arrested a young man - an act that has prompted political pressure on them.
She insisted, though, that this support did "not necessarily [mean] universal background checks" and also threw cold water on Trump's statements that he supported raising the age limit to buy an assault weapon to 21.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. And he castigated his fellow Republicans for being "petrified" of the National Rifle Association.
Scott Dworkin, who co-founded the anti-Trump Democratic Coalition, claims a GOP lobbyist told him that Trump is "only publicly acting like he's taking on the NRA". She said that for the moment, Trump supports an incremental proposal from Sens. "The background check system is something that he's still very much interested in improving".
"I'm asked that question more than nearly any other question, 'Are you going to 21 or not?'" Trump said before shifting his attention to another senator. I never thought he'd go there, but not only did he go there, he went way past there to a place no one had a ticket for.
But at least one Republican, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, said yesterday he would unveil a gun and school safety plan aimed at fortifying schools and preventing gun sales to unsafe or unstable people. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has found new momentum since it was first introduced after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in CT that left 20 children dead. He endorsed increased school security and more mental health resources, and he reaffirmed his support for raising the age to 21 for purchasing some firearms.
Senate Democrats say they want to debate mandates on background checks at gun shows and internet sales, among other measures, but say Trump will need to push his colleagues.