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Trump Suggests Linking Gun Background Checks to Immigration Reform

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In a Monday tweet, President Donald Trump suggested that Congress may be able to pass a law on gun background checks by coupling the legislation with immigration reform.

Following a pair of mass shootings over the weekend, the president called on Republicans and Democrats to “come together.”

“We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain,” he said.

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“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying … this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” Trump continued.

The president’s proposition plays on his signature issue of immigration reform but adds support for a strengthened background check system — an idea Trump has supported in the past.

Do you support a strengthened federal background check system?

An increased system of background checks, however, likely would not have been effective in preventing at least one of the weekend shootings.

As the New York Post reported, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said that “there’s nothing in [the Dayton shooter’s] history that would have precluded him from buying the firearm.”

In a Monday speech following his tweets, the president neither elaborated on his call for background check legislation nor mentioned immigration reform, Politico reported.

Trump’s remarks were widely criticized by prominent Democrats.

“If the president is serious about ‘strong background checks’ there’s one thing he can do: demand [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] put the bipartisan, House-passed universal background checks bill up for a vote,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted.

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Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, called the Trump’s proposal an “absolute freaking joke” in an appearance on CNN.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut referred to the idea of tying background checks to immigration reform as “a transparent play to do nothing” in a reply to the president’s tweets.

Murphy added that he doesn’t think the president will pressure McConnell to bring a vote on background checks to the Senate floor.

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