The full transcript of Trump’s gun roundtable has to be read to be believed

President Donald Trump sat down with lawmakers at the White House Wednesday afternoon to discuss gun policy in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — and Trump appeared to enthusiastically endorse several gun control measures, including a bipartisan gun control bill that failed to pass the Senate during Barack Obama’s presidency.

It was a surprising scene, but it’s not yet clear if Trump’s words will translate into policy. Below is a full rush transcript of the meeting at the White House:

President Trump

We have to do something about it. We have to act.

We can’t wait and play games and nothing gets done. And I really believe that the people — this is bipartisan. It’s a bipartisan meeting. We’re going to discuss safe schools and we can really get there. But we have to do it.

We don’t want to wait two weeks, three weeks, four weeks and people sort of forget and we go on and then have another problem. We want to stop the problems from happening. As we continue to mourn the loss of so many precious young lives in Parkland, Florida, we’re determined to turn our grief into action. I really believe that. I think that the people at this table want it. I mean, I see some folks that don’t say nice things about me, and that’s okay. Because if you turn that into this energy, I’ll love you. I don’t care. We’ll be able to do it. Sadly, these horrible mass shootings are nothing new.

Look at Columbine, Colorado. Bill Clinton was president. Virginia Tech, George Bush. Ft. Hood, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Pulse Nightclub and so many more. It’s ridiculous.

So today we’re here on a bipartisan fashion to show leadership in an effort to end the senseless violence. It can be ended. And it will be ended. First we must harden our schools against attack. These include allowing people with a certified training, very talented people, to carry firearms.

Some people are going to disagree with that, and I understand that. I fully understand that. If you do, I want you to speak up today and we’ll listen. But 98 percent of all mass shootings in the United States, since 1950, have taken place in gun-free Zones, where guns were not inside the school or, as an example, you take the Pulse Nightclub.

You had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn’t have happened. Certainly not to the extent it did, where he was just in there shooting and shooting and shooting. And they were defenseless. Just remember that.

Ninety-eight percent of all mass public shootings in the United States since 1950 have taken place in gun-free zones. It’s terrible. You’ve got to have defense, too. You can’t just be sitting ducks. That’s exactly what we’ve allowed people in these buildings and schools to be. Second, we have to confront mental health. There’s never been a case that I’ve ever seen — I’m sure everybody would feel the same — where mental health was so obviously — 39 different red flags. Everybody was seeing it. The local police, the state police, the FBI. Everybody was seeing that this guy was sick and nothing happened.

Third, we have to ensure that when students, educators, family, neighbors, when they warn authorities that the authorities act quickly and decisively, unlike what took police in Florida, which was horrible. Fourth, we have to pursue common sense measures that protect the rights of law-abiding Americans while keeping guns and — we have to keep the guns out of the hands that pose the threat. And this really includes background checks.

I know, Senator, you’re working on things. Joe, I know you’re working. I mean, I’m looking at a number of folks around the table. You’re working in different bills. We have to get them done. We have to get them done. And they have to be strong. Background checks — hey, look, I’m the biggest fan of the second amendment. Many of you are. I’m a big fan of the NRA. I had lunch with them, with Wayne, Chris and David, on Sunday and said, it’s time.

We’re going to stop this nonsense. It’s time. So, we made suggestions to many of you. And I think you’re going to put a lot of those suggestions in place. You’re going to have your own ideas. Certain ideas sound good but they’re not good. You can harden the sight to a level nobody could get in. Problem is if the shooter is inside and he gets in the door and closes the door, we can’t get people in. It’s going to cost hundred of millions of dollars all over the country and we’ll have nice hard sites.

The door closes and now we can’t get in, have to send the tractor through the walls. So we have to be careful of that. We have to create a culture that cherishes life and human dignity. We’re all going to sit around and come up with some ideas. Hopefully, we can put those ideas in a very bipartisan bill. It would be so beautiful to have one bill that everybody could support as opposed to, you know, 15 bills.

Everybody has their own bill. If we could have one terrific bill that everybody — started by the people around this take. Special people. These are the people that seem to be most interested, very interested in this problem. It’s a big problem. So, with that, I think I would like to start. Maybe you can ask John, you can start off and we’ll go back and forth. We’ll leave the media for a while and they can leave us with some thought. There’s something that can be done.

There’s no reason for this. I really believe that those people, it’s idealistic, wonderful, a beautiful thing. If you think that somebody is going to be able to walk into a school, if they feel that they’re not going to have bullets coming at them from the other direction, you’re never going to solve the problem. I feel that. I feel that. But I’m certainly open to suggestions. So, John, why don’t you start? You’ve put in your fix nix. Let’s see how it is and we’ll go ahead.

Sen. John Cornyn

Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you for getting us together and expressing your sincere concern about this and trying to get us to a solution. And going home empty handed is unacceptable. It’s hard to get people together on a bipartisan basis. Sutherland Springs, we lost 26 people when a guy, convicted felon, convicted of domestic violence, less than honorable discharge from the military, none of which was uploaded into the background check system maintained by the FBI. That’s only as good as the data put into it.

So 46 Senate colleagues on the bipartisan basis have what we think is a start. It’s not the end all be all. Other things that people want to add to it. We talked about the bump stock issue that I know Sen. Feinstein cares passionately about.

President Trump

I’m going to essentially write that out. We can do that with an executive order. I’m essentially going to write it out. You won’t have to worry about bump stock. Shortly, that will be gone. We can focus on other things. Frankly, I don’t know that it would be good to have it be in this bill. We’ll have that done. They’re working on it quickly. Go ahead.

Sen. John Cornyn

We need to get started on things only we could do, this background check system. People have other ideas, they ought to offer those ideas. I’m not sure all of them will pass but in the past we’ve acquiesced to failure and have not done things that we know were within our power to accomplish, like the Fix NICS Bill. SO I would like to recommend to you and to my colleagues that we get that done and build on it. We don’t stop there. We build on it. None of us want to look these families in the face in the wake of another mass shooting and say we failed to do everything within our power to stop it.

President Trump

And, John, Fix NICS has some really good things in it. It would be nice if we could add everything on to it and maybe change the title, all right? The U.S. Background check bill or whatever. Your bill is really good and really important, having to do with a certain aspect. Maybe we could make it much more comprehensive and have one bill instead of 15 different bills and nobody knows what’s happening.

If we can get 60 votes for it, Mr. President, I’m all for it.

I think you can. I think this is one of the things you can actually get the 60 votes and maybe easily. Dianne, do you have something?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

I do, Mr. President. You probably know this, but I became mayor of San Francisco as a product of the assassination. I’ve been the victim of terrorist groups. The department gave me a weapon.

They taught me how to shoot it and we proceeded through the 1970s that way. What I’ve watched and seen is the development of weapons that I never thought would leave the battlefield, that are out on our streets. And the latest and newest, Mr. Chairman, is the ar-15. It’s got a lot of assets to it and it’s misused. And it tears apart a human body with a velocity. And I watched the school shootings, in particular, which you pointed out. And I thought Sandy Hook — and I’m delighted that Sen. Murphy is here today.

We thought Sandy Hook would be the end. And he and I introduced another assault weapons bill after the first one. We didn’t succeed with it. But the killings have gone on. The number of incidents have gone up. I put my case in writing, which I will give you, if I may, in letter form.

President Trump

Good. Thank you.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Secondly the assault weapons legislation, this is the number of incidents before. And of incidents and of deaths. This is when the ten-year assault weapon ban was in how incidents and deaths dropped. When it ended, you see it going up. So, Sen. Murphy —

President Trump

I’ll take a look at it.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

And 26 of us have co-sponsored a new bill. I would be most honored if you would take a look at it.

President Trump

I will.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

We will get it to you and let us know what you think of it.

President Trump

I will.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Thank you.

President Trump

Thank you very much. Chris? Go ahead.

Sen. Chris Murphy

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, thank you very much. Thank you for taking this seriously. Our hearts go out to Parkland. We know, having gone through this in Sandy Hook that that community will never, ever be the same. I want to bring this issue to background checks if I could. I think there’s real opportunity.

President Trump

I agree.

Sen. Chris Murphy

There’s no other issue like background checks. 97 percent of Americans want universal background checks in states that have universal background checks, there are 35 percent less gun murders than in states that don’t have them. And yet we can’t get it done. Nothing else like that, where it works, people want it. And we can’t do it.

President Trump

You have a different president now. You went through a lot of presidents and didn’t get it done. You have a different president. I think maybe you have a different attitude, too. I think people want to get it done. Go ahead.

Sen. Chris Murphy

In the end, Mr. President, the reason nothing has gotten down here is because the gun lobby has a veto power over any legislation on guns before Congress. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is. If all we end up doing is the stuff that the gun industry supports this isn’t worth it. We are not going to make a difference.

I’m glad that you sat down with the NRA, but we will get 60 votes on a bill that looks like the compromise on background checks if you support it, if you come to congress, if you come to Republicans and say we are going to do a Manchin-Toomey-like bill to get background checks it will pass. If this meeting ends up with vague notions of future compromise, then nothing will happen.

President Trump

We don’t want that.

Sen. Chris Murphy

So I think we have a unique opportunity to get comprehensive background checks, make sure that nobody buys a gun in this country that’s a criminal, that’s seriously mentally ill, that’s on the terrorist watch list. Mr. President, it’s going to have to be you that brings the Republicans to the table on this.

President Trump

Sure.

Sen. Chris Murphy

Right now the gun lobby would stop it in its tracks.

President Trump

I like that responsibility, Chris. I really do. I think it’s time that a president stepped up. I’m talking Democrat and Republican presidents, they’ve not stepped up. And maybe before I call on Marco, I would like to have Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, can you sort of detail your bill? I haven’t heard a lot about it, actually.

Sen. Pat Toomey

Thank you very much. Absolutely, Mr. President. And I do think our bill is the best chance of moving forward. We got 54 votes in 2013, the most that any bill in this space got. It has several components. First title is very similar to what Jon Cornyn and Chris Murphy’s bill does. It strengthens the reporting of information into the background check system.

President Trump

Having one bill is nicer than having seven bills.

Sen. Pat Toomey

Right. The second part has a provision that would require background checks on all commercial sales. One of the big gaps in our background check system today is sales at gun shows and sales over the internet are not necessarily subject to a background check and we think they should be. These are commercial in nature and they’re on a scale that really matters. Our bill would require those background checks. We also have a number of provisions which we’ll —

President Trump

Do you have support for that, bipartisan support for what you’re saying?

Sen. Pat Toomey

We had 54 votes in 2013. Most of those 54 voters are still in the Senate.

President Trump

And not a lot of presidential backup?

Sen. Pat Toomey

President Obama did support it.

President Trump

But that was your problem.

Sen. Pat Toomey

There was a worry he wanted to go further, frankly, and that was a concern for some of our guys. Two other items. One is a list of ways in which a law-abiding citizen could have greater freedom to exercise the second amendment, for instance, allowing an active duty military person to buy a gun in his home state. It’s against the law. That shouldn’t be. And then secondly, to create a commission that looks at the sources and causes of these terrible mass shootings.

President Trump

What are you doing in the schools?

Sen. Joe Manchin

We have a school safety provision in this bill also. When I was governor we remodeled a lot of schools and built a lot of schools. “Gov. Manchin, you’ve got to make sure you have the first floor windows all bulletproof.” We never knew that. No one ever came to me with that concern. With Sandy Hook, that’s how he got his way in. We made sure we addressed all that. There’s not a person in West Virginia who believes you’re not going to defend their second amendment rights, not a person.

With you taking a lead on something like this, it gives them the comfort that something reasonable — and this bill has been vetted for over five years and over 70, 80 percent of gun owners say we like your bill, Joe. We’re just afraid President Obama would take it further, take more rights away. That’s what I was running into in West Virginia.

Sen. Joe Manchin

Or use that as an excuse not to sign: he was not proactive in getting a bill signed, in all fairness.

Sen. Pat Toomey

In all fairness, this is a bill that basically, with your support, it would pass. It would pass. And we think basically it takes commercial sales.

President Trump

And maybe to that bill if we use that as a base, you could add some of the things that are going to be said in the room or you may not want to. But there are going to be things that are going to be said today that I think will be in addition to yours, Joe, which you could add almost anything. You know what that involves. I think it would be a positive thing in terms of background checks.

Sen. Joe Manchin

I will say this, Mr. President. On this piece of legislation here, without background checks, on commercial transactions — if a person basically — when the terrorists basically say, hey, go down to the local gun show and get whatever you want. Because you could be in a gun show. Two-thirds of the gun show has federal license dealers that had to have background checks if you buy it from them. Go to the next table there is not one. It’s a loophole. Intrastate to intrastate. If you’re selling outside the state on the internet you need a background check. If you sell in state, one part of New York versus the other, doesn’t have to. This closes all those loopholes.

President Trump

We have to do something about the mentally ill not being able to buy a gun. They have so many checks and balances that you could be mentally ill and it takes you six months before you — prohibit it. We have to do something very decisive.

Number one, take the guns away immediately from people that you can adjudge is mentally ill. The police didn’t take the gun as way. That could have been policing. I think they should have taken them anyway, whether they had the right or not. You have to have very strong provisions for the mentally ill. People are saying I shouldn’t be saying that. I don’t want mentally ill people to be having guns. Marco?

Sen. Marco Rubio

Mr. President, thanks for bringing us here. I think we all agree — we all know what the issues are that are fought over on this issue. I think everyone agrees we never want to see this happen anywhere again in America. You mentioned something about the shooting that is critical. This was a multi-systemic failure. Without pointing fingers or laying blame on anyone in particular that may or may not be here to defend themselves, the sheriff’s office knew this was a problem. The school districts knew this was a problem. The FBI had been alerted to a problem. The department of children and families in Florida knew this was a problem.

But the big problem is none of them talked to each other. Nobody told the others what they knew. And there is a bill out there that Sen. Hatch is going to file very soon and congressman Rutherford and others have filed called stop school violence act. I’ll let them describe it more in detail. One thing it does, it incentivizes the creation of this synergy where all these people are talking to each so they can compare notes and get ahead of this.

The best way to prevent these is to stop it before it even starts. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t harden schools or have a debate on other issues but the best thing that can happen is know who these people are and get on them and get them the services they need and deny them the right to buy any gun.

And I think that is something that holds tremendous bipartisan promise, if we can come together on the things we agree on. One last point in the state of Florida, they have a very different process. But they are already moving on legislation.

The governor and the legislators. They are going to pass something, perhaps by the end of this week, on a series of things. We move slower over here but that’s an example to us, I hope we can get done what we can agree on and debate and act on other things. There are things we agree on. We owe it to these families to do those things.

President Trump

I agree, Marco. Chuck, anything?

Sen. Chuck Grassley

I would like to comment from this standpoint. First of all, a caution on mental health because there’s a lot of people that have mental health issues that are not dangerous to themselves or to others. So I think we’ve got to concentrate on those not just that have mental health issues, but the ones that show danger to themselves or others.

Because otherwise it’s not fair to other people that have mental illness that isn’t. I’ll comment on the can culture within the schools but I can’t say it any better than Sen. Rubio said it or Sen. Hatch would say it. It seems to me we have to have a culture in our schools where people are attuned to the people that have problems that could create this massacre sort of thing or anything else that would even connected with bullying as just one example.

We have to do things at the federal level that will build schools or resources to do that. So that kind of fits in with what Sen. Hatch is saying. Then I’ll end with more of a process. As chairman of the committee that will deal with a lot of this legislation, we’ve got to do something. I want to help facilitate those things and move them along. And see what we can do.

President Trump

You’ll be a great help. I have no doubt.

Sen. Chuck Grassley

To get a consensus.

President Trump

You’re going to be a great help. Thanks, Chuck. I would like to ask Joe and Pat, in your bill, what are you doing about the 18 to 21?

Sen. Pat Toomey

I’ll change that.

President Trump

Are you going to leave that?

Sen. Pat Toomey

Whatever you want.

President Trump

We have a case where can you buy a handgun at 21. This isn’t a popular thing to say in terms of the NRA but I’m going to say it anyway.

I just have to say it. You can’t buy — think of it. You can buy a handgun. You can’t buy one. You have to wait until you’re 21. You can buy the kind of weapon used in the school shooting at 18. I think it’s something you have to think about.

Sen. Pat Toomey

Would you sign that?

President Trump

I’ll tell you what, I’m going to give it a lot of consideration. And I’m the one bringing it up. People aren’t bringing it up because they’re afraid to bring it up. You can’t buy a handgun at 18, 19 or 20. You have to wait until you’re 21. You could buy the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18. You are going to decide, the people in this room pretty much, are going to decide. I would give very serious thought to it. The NRA is opposed to it and I’m a fan of the NRA. No bigger fan. I’m a big fan of the NRA. These are great people. Great patriots. They love our country but that doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. It doesn’t make sense that I have to wait till I’m 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18. I don’t know. I’m just curious as to what you did in your bill.

Sen. Pat Toomey

We didn’t address it, Mr. President.

President Trump

Do you know why? You’re afraid of the NRA.

Sen. Pat Toomey

No. I dealt with the NRA five years ago.

President Trump

It’s a big issue right now. A lot of people are afraid of that issue, raising the age for that weapon to 21.

Sen. Pat Toomey

My reservation about it, frankly, is that the vast majority of 18, 19 and 20-year-olds in Pennsylvania who have a rifle or shotgun, they’re not a threat to anyone. They’re law-abiding citizens. They have that because they want to use it for hunting or target shooting. To deny them their second amendment right is not going to make anyone safer. That’s my reservation about changing the age.

President Trump

I know where you’re coming from. And I understand that. I understand that. I think it’s a position. It’s a position. But I think we’re going to use you as a base, the two of you, I think you’re going to have to iron out that problem. I’m asked that question more than almost any other question. Are you going to 21 or not? Anybody? Yes, Steve.

Steve Daines

Mr. President, around the table, like many, I sit here as a father of four, as an uncle. I was with yesterday she was campaigning. The first four words you said today struck me today. We need to act. But the only worst thing than doing nothing is doing something that doesn’t achieve the intended result. You were in business your entire life. I was in business 28 years. This is not about activities in doing things but it’s about a result. Active shooting kids is cowardly. Moms and dads want to know when they drop off their kids, they are safe. This morning, I came in early.

I bypassed the gym, gave me an excuse to bypass the gym, gave myself some time to think when nobody else is in the office at 7 am. And put together a sheet of the 14 mass killings. Three or more people lost their lives is considered a mass killing. Since columbine, we’ve had 14 of these in our country. And my staff put together a nice spreadsheet but I was handwriting this this morning. How many decide, what was the age of the shooter? How was that firearm obtained, what’s the status of the shooter? Mostly, by the way, suicides.

President Trump

And was their offensive firepower on the inside of those facilities so that when the gunman comes in, we have defensive capability. One other thing, if he knew there was offensive power inside of the 14 events, probably none of them would have happened.

Steve Daines

So a message of deterrence —

President Trump

Important for people to understand.

Steve Daines

Mr. President, the message of deterrence is very important when you think about stopping these homicidal, suicidal killers. There were meetings in here right after 9/11, after that horrible event occurred, there were meetings in the situation room right after it occurred and we made a decision as a nation. We’re going to secure our skies. We can never let that happen again. We had to restore the trust of the public to get back on airplanes. Mr. President, we need to secure our schools because parents want action now. We had some huge society issues. These shooters typically are males. They’re white and they’re suicidal.

President Trump:

And they’re cowards.

Steve Daines:

And they’re cowards. And cowards, cowards can be stopped with deadly force.

That’s why I agree with you that we need to secure our schools and allow the states and school board to figure that out. I agree with that. Second Marco talked about what happened in Florida. Last week in Montana, I was north of a school the day after they stopped and arrested an 18-year-old because he put on Snapchat he was going to shoot up the school. The sheriff of valley county arrested that young man and most likely prevented another mass shooting. That’s what we know.

President Trump:

Good. Thank you, Steve.

Rep. Ted Deutch:

Thank you, Mr. President, I spent a lot of time since the shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas with the students who survived. And they’ve been very clear that what they want is action. And I am heartened by what you say about the need for presidential leadership. You can do this.

I understand, Mr. President, that you met with the NRA. What matters here is the NRA. What matters here is preventing another one of these mass shootings. And so I’m so grateful to hear that Sen. Toomey and Sen. Manchin’s bill not might be — I would suggest must be part of the universal background checks. There are so many things we can do right now. The only thing I would add you started by pointing out there would be differences of opinion. Please know that there are great differences of opinion on the question of whether having teachers armed with guns firing back at a potential mass shooter is the answer. I don’t think it is. Many others don’t. Please also know that there are — the majority of people in this country now understand that there are limitations on the second amendment. You cannot own an automatic weapon. You cannot own a bazooka.

There’s no reason to continue to sell to people a weapon of war like this. I know there are differences of opinion. I just hope we can act, that we can show the American people and the kids and their grieving families in my district that with presidential leadership, it doesn’t matter what Congress says, that you can help push this forward and that we will consider everything.

President Trump:

I like that. And I appreciate that. The fact is, a lot is up to the states. And that’s good. The states are going to feel differently. Texas, as an example, is very much to what I’m saying. We have eight states. We have another six or seven or eight considered. And that’s okay. You may be different and have a very good thing for your state. I don’t think the states have to be the same. What does have to be the same are the background checks and all of the data, whether it’s fix nix or all the things we’re going to be adding.

That has to be very much the same. You have to be able to share with states and localities and all of that. I do think some states are different. Some states are going to do what Texas does and some states don’t want that program. I think it’s a good program. Some states don’t want that program. The reason I like it, I believe it will prevent it from happening. They are cowards and they’re not going in when they know they’re going to come out dead. They’re not going into a school where they know they’re going to come out dead.

When you look at this guy in Florida, he walked out with everybody like it was a fire drill. He walked out and got away. A policeman did a fantastic job two towns away. That policeman wasn’t given much credit but he found him, he saw him and looked like the description and he got him. That was a great job. You have to give him credit.

Two or three others were not exactly good. They didn’t do their job very well.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

Mr. President, thank you for calling us together today. I come from a proud hunting state, you know that.

President Trump:

Yes, you do.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

I have that hat and I also have law enforcement. Is with a prosecutor for eight years and got involved in this issue from police coming to me. One of the issues they raised was the fact that there was this gun show loophole and commercial purposes that didn’t allow them to get the information they need to make sure that the people were safe. That’s why I’ve been such a strong supporter of the Manchin/Toomey bill. It won’t fix everything but it’s a good base to start with. I want to make one more —

President Trump:

It’s the best we’ve ever done, too.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

From a different perspective, of course, I support Dianne’s bill and other things. They have 38 percent domestic violence homicide rate. It makes a major difference for those states and this number, for you to keep with you, 6,000 women in ten years were killed by a partner, a spouse, a boyfriend. 6,000. That is more than we lost for brave troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Trump:

Big time.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

Doing something on this background check issue and using that as a base and then I would like to add some of these other things we’ve talked about. I think it would make a major difference.

President Trump:

If you can add that to this bill that would be great. If you could add what you have also and I think you can into the bill —

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:

Joe, are you ready?

President Trump:

Can you do that?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:

If you help.

President Trump:

I’ll help but can you add what Amy and what Dianne have? Can you add them in?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

I have another domestic violence bill that’s very narrow. It’s about dating partners and a number of states have just enacted it. With Republican support.

We’re going to get it passed.

President Trump:

If you can add domestic violence paragraphs, pages into this bill, I’m all for it. I think it’s terrific if you can do it. It can be done. That could be done too.

Sen. John Cornyn:

Mr. President can I respectfully recommend Steve Scalise will be a key role in all this. He had a personal near tragic experience with one of these mass shootings himself.

President Trump:

Good.

Rep. Steve Scalise:

Mr. President I appreciate you convening everybody. Thank you, Sen. Cornyn, my whip counterpart. The house did pass a bill dealing with fixing problems with our background check system. We also combined with it a bill that advanced concealed carry reciprocity people having concealed carry in one state having the ability to have that in another state. Before that’s immediately discounted because I know when we passed our bill, number one, I did have the bill. It wasn’t a bill that automatically passed.

There were a lot of our members who said look, we want to close these problems and fix these problems with the background check system and we came together and actually passed a bill. These are people by and large helping us top crimes, go out there and help prevent crimes. I would hope that’s not immediately dismissed because there is a lot of talk of putting that on the side.

President Trump:

I think that maybe that bill will some day pass but it should pass as a separate. If you’re going to put concealed carry between states into this bill, we’re talking about a whole new ball game. And, you know, I’m with you but let it be a separate bill. You’ll never get this passed if you add concealed carry to this, you’ll never get it passed. I don’t think — again, you’ll never get it passed. We want to get something done.

Rep. Steve Scalise:

Please recognize that — look at the date. A lot of people want to dismiss concealed carry permits. I did appreciate some of the other points you brought up. You talk about mental health problems. At the core of so many of these mass shootings. We came together in a bipartisan way in a year and a half ago and passed a major overhaul, didn’t get much attention because it was very bipartisan.

That bill — you just appointed an assistant secretary to mental health, a position created am that law. Let’s make sure that the assistant secretary of mental health has the tools they need. How are people slipping through the cracks? The thing that makes me the most angry, when you see so many governmental institutions, federal and local that broke down and allowed this kid not only to get a gun but to let him slip through the cracks.

It wasn’t just students — believe me there were students saying we think he’s a shooter.

He said he was going to be a professional school shooter. Yet the FBI let him go. You know this. People that protected me and my other colleagues on that field, law enforcement did their job that day. I appreciate that you gave them the medal of freedom.

President Trump:

If you didn’t have those two people, you wouldn’t be here and 25 other people wouldn’t be here right now.

Rep. Steve Scalise:

When you see those breakdowns, you see so many millions of Americans that want firearms to defend themselves, not to use them for mass shooting but to defend nemsz their communities and that’s obviously one of the balances we have. The house did take action. You know, clearly the Senate may have some issues with parts of the bill. Let’s not just discard that. Let’s at least have a broader conversation.

President Trump:

Okay, I think that’s fine.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn:

Mr. President, first of all, I want to say thank you for saying let’s go to the source of the problem. So many times we react to symptoms.

Picking up on what the whip said with the new assistant secretary of mental health, this is somewhere that, yes, indeed, we need to be looking at the tools that they have and looking at these young adults, individuals who have crossed that 18-year-old threshold and who, within their family or their caregiver has access to those mental health records and how law enforcement has the ability to get that information from children’s services. So many of these have records through their teenage years that have been on a schedule.

President Trump:

And working on that, that’s part of what we’re doing.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn:

And we need to have that visibility. And the house has wanted to fix that system. Another thing that has come up from some of the moms — I was a room mother when my kids were in school. And now as a grandmother, I’m talking to a lot of young moms. They have said one of the things we need to do as we review these issues is look at entertainment. And the video games, the rating system, the movies. How things are approved and what children are being exposed. And especially children that have some of these mental health issues. They feel that has a role to play.

President Trump:

I think that’s a very important part of it. The video games, the movies, the internet stuff is so violent. It’s so incredible. I see it. I get to see things that you wouldn’t be — you would be amazed at. I have a very young son who I look at some of the things he’s watching and I say, how is that possible? This is what kids are watching. And I think maybe you have to take a look at it. You rate movies for different things. Maybe you also have to rate them for terror, for what they’re doing and what they’re all about.

It’s hard to believe that at least for a percentage — maybe it’s a small percentage of children — this doesn’t have a negative impact on their thought process. These things are really violent.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn:

Some of the moms have mentioned they’re very concerned about that exposure and children being desensitized to violence. So, they would like that. One of my sheriffs, sheriff Eddie Ferris in Putnam county, Tennessee, he said as we talk about hardening the schools we have need to read programs how about protect the programs that some of our cop retirees could take the lead on and go in as a volunteer and help to protect those while we work through this issue how your local, state and federal agencies are going to work together and find solutions for this.

So those are things that my constituents are saying and would like to have raised. They want solutions to them. I appreciate the leadership.

President Trump:

Thank you very much.

I appreciate it. Thank you.

Rep. Brian Mast:

Mr. President, you’re absolutely right. You can lead on this in a way that nobody else can because for all those Americans out there that the Second Amendment is so critically important to them, they believe you, that you’re not going to go into their home and take their firearms. You have a credibility that nobody else can bring to this. That’s why you can lead. Maybe you’ve heard my column. You act when you see an opportunity to save life.

President Trump:

We’re all going to lead. We are going to get this done in a bipartisan manner. I’m not worried about 60 votes. 60 percent, meaning, should be so easy. Should be 100 percent. You have something, Chris?

Chris:

I think you underestimate the power of the gun lobby.

President Trump:

I tell you what. The reason I had lunch with the NRA on Sunday — I called them and said you have to come over. Fellows, we’ve got to do something. They do have great points I agree with that. They have great power over you people they have less people over me. I don’t need it what do I need?

But I tell you, they are well meaning. I said to them very nicely, fellows, we’ve got to do something. We can’t keep restricting and we can’t keep — we have to do what’s right. When it comes to mental health and other issues, I said we have to do what’s right. I’m telling you, I think they’re there. I think they’re there. Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can’t be petrified. They want to do what’s right. They’re going to do what’s right. I really believe that. It was a very good lunch. Yes, sir?

Rep. John Rutherford:

I want to give you a perspective from 41 years of law enforcement, 12 as a sheriff, riding the streets of Jacksonville, Florida. I can tell you one of the things that I learned during that 41 years and a lot in this room can tell you as well, is security is always a multi-layered approach.

So as we talk about the background checks, who can buy a gun, who cannot, all of those things are important. And all of those are a piece of the — parts of the security that we can create for our country. But know this. And you said it. All of that can break down and someone go into a gun-free zone and just kill at will. Defenseless people.

President Trump:

Defenseless.

Rep. John Rutherford:

So number one for security from a law enforcement perspective is the only thing — it sounds cliche but it’s cliche because it’s true. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And you have to have those officers or some armed security at our schools. Now the issue is, and we talk about those are areas where there are no guns. The reason I carry a concealed firearm everywhere I go is because I don’t know where those gun-free zones are that I may be walking through at the mall or the donut shop or wherever I might be. That’s why I carry concealed so that I can protect myself, I can protect my family who might be with me and I can protect all of those around me who choose not to carry a firearm.

President Trump:

You’re not allowed concealed in a gun-free zone.

Rep. John Rutherford:

Well —

President Trump:

So what do you do?

Rep. John Rutherford:

You can’t carry in those areas. And so you’re —

President Trump:

I’m like everybody else. They are in the most dangerous places, gun-free Zones. That’s true.

Rep. John Rutherford:

That’s why we need to look at going back to the concealed carry issue of national reciprocity.

President Trump:

You’re not going to get concealed carry approved.

Rep. John Rutherford:

You’re right.

President Trump:

Amy, Dianne and a lot of other people they’re never going to consider it. People may consider it, but they’re not going to consider it in this bill.

Rep. John Rutherford:

We need to get away with gun-free zones.

President Trump:

As far as I’m concerned, I would, and with the military. In fact, I’m looking of getting rid of gun-free Zones in the military. We have military bases with gun-free Zones and had five incredible soldiers, three of whom were champion shooters that were nowhere near their gun and this whack job walked in and killed all of them. They were defenseless. If they had their guns he would be gone in a second.

Rep. John Rutherford:

When it’s a restaurant, whether it’s a grocery store —

President Trump:

I want to get rid of them on military bases to start. Because you know what’s happened there.

Rep. John Rutherford:

Let me put it this way. I will say it’s critical for law enforcement. We actually take folks who are a danger to themselves or others, the baker act, a crisis stabilization process. They’re there for three days, 72 hours. They get stabilized, get out. We have to give them their guns back. I tried not to do that one time and got sued and lost the case. I had to give the guns back. And we got fined. So, the state of Florida has this bill that was mentioned earlier that the Senate just passed. It has these risk protection orders built in.

President Trump:

Right.

Rep. John Rutherford:

And those — there are some states that already have that, I believe. And I think those are going to be critical for law enforcement to help take the guns out of the hands of these individuals.

President Trump:

Risk protection.

Rep. John Rutherford:

Who we know should not be carrying and then make sure that those individuals get placed into the national background check system.

Mr. President, the Vice President’s state of Indiana has done a good job.

President Trump:

Go ahead, Mike.

Vice President Mike Pence:

Violence, restraining orders, California has a version of this. And I think in your meeting with governors earlier this week, individually, and as a group, we spoke about the states taking steps. But the focus is to literally give families and give local law enforcement additional tools if an individual is reported to be a potential danger to themselves or others. Allow due process so no one’s rights are trampled but the ability to go to court, obtain an order and collect not only the firearms but any weapons in the possession.

President Trump:

Or, Mike, take the firearms first and then go to court. Because that’s another system. A lot of times by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures. I like taking the guns early. Like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida. He had a lot of firearms. They saw everything. To go to court would have taken a long time. You could do exactly what you’re saying but take the guns first, go through due process second.

Vice President Mike Pence:

We think about the tragedy in Sandy Hook.

President Trump:

That’s right.

Vice President Mike Pence:

And Adam Lanza’s mother, who spoke to law enforcement, spoke to local officials.

She was concerned over and over again. I know you are from Connecticut and live this had and saw this. Give families and to take action to remove those weapons for a set period of time or longer. Make that’s a state law provision. People are working on what we can do continue to cent vise states to do this. It brings home this point. The vice president alluded to it and congressman Rutherford touched on it.

There are people who tried to do something. They called the FBI, the sheriff’s office but legally they had no recourse to get ahead of this and stop it. In terms of taking away guns and placing them in a facility or some other measure with a court order he to be able to do this.

And even if law enforcement had gone to see them they would have been limited ultimately in their options as well. There may be something we can do to incentivize it. We’ve been talking but states can do that now the way multiple states have already done it.

Sen. John Cornyn:

Mr. President, in the 21st Century bill, Sen. Murphy and I worked on, part of it involving the mental health and safe communities acts, we provided additional grants to use outpatient treatment. A variation on what the vice president talked about.

Adam Lanza’s mother, if he wasn’t compliant with his mother and the medications, she could go to civil court to get a court order that forced him to take his medication and follow his doctor’s orders. Many people with mental illness, can function in society. So there are sobriety tools.

President Trump:

So Chris and John Rurks better off having a one-off bill or can you merge it into Joe and pat’s bill? Because I like that much better. Having a comprehensive bill. Some people don’t like that word. I like that word, comprehensive. They say it is a bad bid. I like the word. I would rather have a comprehensive bill. Can you merge yours into there bill or would you rather have a separate, mix, mix bill?

Sen. John Cornyn:

Mr. President, the most important thing you said at the outset is that we act. We don’t go home empty handed.

President Trump:

But it would really be nice to create something that is beautiful. That works. And you know the biggest thing, Chris? The biggest surprise to me. I’ve only been doing this two years. Three years now. Time flies. But I’ve been here for a little more than a year. What surprises me more than anything else is that nothing has been done for all these years. Because I really see a lot of common ground.

Democrat, Republican. I’m so surprised. I’m sitting here and I’m saying, there’s a lot of commonality here. A lot of people are agreeing with pretty much everything you’re writing. I don’t understand why this hasn’t happened for the last 20 years, nothing has happened. So we’re going to get it done.

Sen. Chris Murphy:

I think we can add anything to fix that it has 60 votes. Background checks can be added to this if it has your support, Mr. President, I would add, I hope we follow the data. It will tell you, talk a lot about safe schools and mental illness. We have 20 times rate of any country in the world. Our schools aren’t less safe. We don’t spend less money on law enforcement what is different is that we have the loosest, most lax gun laws. It’s broken. Period stop. Not because we think it will stop the gun violence. The data tells us that the one thing that is different about the US is our unbelievably loose gun laws. I hope we follow it.

That’s right.

President Trump:

I think they work together. I like them together better. But Joe, you have to fix mental illness. If someone is mentally ill, you can’t take it away. They can buy. It is ridiculous of will I’m sure you’re going to fix it. I like a merger. I think it works out better. Chuck, were you going to say one thing?

Sen. Chuck Grassley:

You’re showing leadership through this meeting and following what was said about the incivility of our society and the culture of our society, the thought came to my mind that maybe you could show leadership about all the violence we have out of Hollywood and all these videos. You watch Fox News like I do. And every night you see all these films about everybody being blown up. Think of the impact that makes on young people. Get them in here and preach to them like you’re preaching to us.

President Trump:

But actually, Fox News does a very good job. But you’re right.

It is very violent. The movies are violent and the videos are violent beyond anything anybody has ever seen.

Sen. Chuck Grassley:

You had governors telling you the same thing this week. The culture has to change if we’re going to stop this.

President Trump:

I agree. I agree. Elizabeth?

Rep. Elizabeth Etsy:

Thank you very much, Mr. President. Mr. Vice president. I’ve been wearing a bracelet like this for more than five years. We were elected at the same time and I was sitting with new member training when I got calls and texts about a school shooting of what turned out to be 20 6 and 7-year-olds. So I haven’t had a day that Chris and I don’t think about it. That’s been our nightmare for the people we represent. It is now Ted’s nightmare and now your nightmare.

President Trump:

So why didn’t they do something about it when that happened? You look at Columbine, some of these. Why didn’t they do something? Why didn’t this group of people plus others and some have gone and some will be here.

Rep. Elizabeth Etsy:

I think people try but your point is this. We’re at a tipping point. We’re at a tipping point. Why we are, I don’t know. I think it is the students.

President Trump:

Do you know where we are? Because a week will go by, another week, another week, and all of a sudden, people will be on to other things. We can’t let that happen.

Rep. Elizabeth Etsy:

We have the power to change that.

President Trump:

You know that’s what has happened.

Rep. Elizabeth Etsy:

So I think there are two things that we can do right now. I think the Manchin/Tombey has 200 are bipartisan co-sponsors. 200. You only need 218 to pass. That’s ready to go.

President Trump:

I think congress will be fine. If we can come up with something very strong, very heavy with mental health, the background checks are so important.

People are afraid to do background checks because you’re afraid of somebody. Do you know what? You’ll be more popular if you have a strong, good — I don’t care who is endorsing you. You’ll be more popular if that’s what you’re into. I’m not into popularity. I’m into getting something done that’s good. We have to get something good that’s done. Let’s do it properly. Yes. John.

Rep. John Rutherford:

Let me talk about how to get guns, keep guns out of the hands of bad folks. One of the issues is the gun show loophole that everyone talks about. But it is also guns stolen out of cars. Good gun owners are not storing them properly. Stolen guns kill more people than guns are bought legally. One way to prevent that is through a group at the point.

Sale of every FFL gun dealers, they do it. But I can buy a gun off the street from an individual that I’ve never met before and nobody cause the background check. Here’s what you do. You require a purchaser’s permit at the point of sale of every gun in this country. At the point of sale, you have to have a buyer’s permit.

The way you get your buyer’s permit is, if I want to buy a gun from Sen. Rubio, I go to an FFL dealer. I get my buyers permit. I take to it him and he sells me his gun after I get the permit. If I don’t have my permit, it is against the law for him to sell it to me. And it is against the law for me to buy it. Now, everybody is thinking, well, heck, nobody will do that and who long?

Law enforcement has the opportunity to go into the streets and buy and sell guns from people had are in there, buying, selling guns right now. And we can actually make arrests and get those guys off the street who are selling guns illegally — well, they’re not illegal sales, but they’re selling them on guys who probably illegal.

President Trump:

The problem is you have a real black market. They don’t worry about anything. They don’t worry about anything that you’re saying. They sell a gun and the buyer doesn’t care and the seller — that’s one of the problems we are all going to have.

And you have that problem with drugs. You make the drugs illegal and they come, you’ve never had a problem like. That we’re fighting it hard but you’ve never had a problem like this. So you have the same problem with guns. A lot of great people go out and register and do all sorts of things. But you have a black market where they don’t even think about registering. They’re not looking at Joe and Pat’s bill. They couldn’t care less about it. And we have to be very strong on that. I think you can have provisions on that too. Big, big penalties. Strong penalties.

Rep. John Rutherford:

The purchaser’s permit allows and buy and sell guns and make arrests of the people doing it very legally.

President Trump:

Be very tough on the black market.

Rep Stephanie Murphy:

I represent a district in Central Florida. We were deeply affected by pulse. I think in the aftermath of these tragedies, the American people want to see us, their elected leaders to do something. So I’m heartened.

President Trump:

How bad was pulse and nothing happened?

Rep. Stephanie Murphy:

So thank you for bringing us all together. I’ve heard a number of ideas and I wanted to present one that I haven’t heard yet. I have a bipartisan bill to remove the so-called Dickey amendment which has prevented over the last couple of decades the CDC and other federal agencies from researching gun violence.

And I think that your secretary of HHS said we should be able to research gun violence. It is a key piece having facts, and scientific data is a key piece helping us address this public health issue. So I would hope that you know, we, as lawmakers, can have opinions about policies. But we should all have good sets of facts. It is easy to fix. We just have to strike one sentence in the law that is much needed.

President Trump:

Maybe we’ll sum up pretty quick will. Do you want to go quickly?

I do. Only because the congresswoman brought this up. This is a bracelet Marjory Stoneman Douglas has been selling … I want to give it to you. I want this to be the last one of these that we ever have to have.

If we can do, if we can do universal background checks and ban bump stocks and increase to the age of 21 and get rid of the Dickey amendment and do it now and show the American people and my constituents, the people in Parkland, the grieving students, that we’re ready to act, they’ll feel better and you can get this done, Mr. President. I want to give that to you.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

President Trump:

If I could just sum up, Chris and John, Pat, Joe, maybe you’ll start it from that standpoint. Other people, you could all together, we could put together one piece of legislation. I think you can have an amazing result. Maybe a number nobody would believe. People want to see something happen, but something good. You didn’t pass anything. We want to pass something great.

To me something great has to be where you stop it from happening. And I think there’s only one way. Again, if you feel not to have that, you understand. I want a counter. A very strong counterpunch. If you have that, then not going in and you won’t have this problem anymore. Remember the 98 percent figure. 98 percent of these attacks, gun-free zones. No backlash. No death to them.

If you four could get together is do something, maybe set the foundation, add to the foundation with some of the great things said, we will have a bill, it is very hard to add the one thing that you want. I will tell you. I’m a fan. Let’s consider it for a separate bill. We’ll consider it for a separate bill. But again we also want things can be approved. You have to look at the age of 21. For certain types of weapons.

Some people won’t like it but you have to look at it seriously. I think it will be a successful vote and I will sign it. If I like what you’re doing, and I think I like when you’re doing already, but you can add to it. You have to be very, very powerful on background checks.

Don’t be shy. Very strong mental illness. Don’t worry about bump stocks. You don’t to have complicate the bill by adding another two paragraphs. We’re getting rid of it. I’ll do it myself. Because I’m able to. Fortunately we can do it without going through congress. If the four of you could come together and work on it, add and subtract to it, put it to a vote. Let’s get it done.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:

What do we do about weapons of war easily accessible on our streets?

President Trump:

What you’ll have to do is discuss with it everybody. It is a complex solution.

You have weapons on the street. These are black market weapons. These aren’t where you walk into a store and you buy it.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein:

You go into a store and you can buy an AR-15. You can buy a Tech 9. You can buy all these.

President Trump:

This is what you’ll have to discuss. You’ll have to discuss it. You’ll come one something. I believe it has to be very strong. I would rather have you come down on the strong side. The weighing side would be much easier. I would have you come one a really strong bill. I believe we’re on the road to something terrific.

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