Trump backs efforts to improve federal gun background checks, White House says

The White House revealed on Sunday that President Trump would support a push to improve the nation's system of background checks for would-be gun buyers, days after the shooting massacre at the high school in Parkland, Florida.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump spoke on Friday to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn about a bill the Texas Republican had introduced alongside Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., which would “improve federal compliance with criminal background check legislation.”

Sanders continued, “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.”

The massacre on Valentine’s Day of last week has renewed debate across the political spectrum in America about gun violence and how to prevent mass shootings.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, is suspected of opening fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where he was a former student, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others.

One day after the shooting, Trump singled out mental health as a possible factor. “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” the president tweeted.

Trump will hold a listening session with high school students this week following the deadly school shooting in Florida.

A White House schedule says Trump will host students and teachers Wednesday. He also will meet with state and local officials on school safety on Thursday.

Trump was last seen publicly Friday night when he visited the Florida community reeling from the massacre, which gave rise to a student-led push for more gun control.

Late Saturday, after reports had emerged that federal investigators failed to act on warnings about Cruz, Trump tweeted: “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.