National Rifle Association leaders appealed directly to President Donald Trump about not raising the age limit for buying certain firearms, a senior administration official tells CNN.
The appeal came when Trump had lunch with the leaders on Sunday. The official said the NRA would prefer that the White House pursue school safety programs.
The official, however, said that although the White House continues to speak with the NRA, they’re not going to agree on everything.
The White House will unveil school safety proposals on Thursday before the President leaves for the Billy Graham funeral on Friday, the official said.
The official maintained that the President does want to raise the purchasing age of certain firearms to 21 years old. Though there has been “a lot of flux in the way it’s been communicated, the President’s preference is that it’s raised to 21,” according to this official. This person said several times that this is Trump’s “preference.”
Vice President Mike Pence has been advising the President on gun safety and offering advice on gun safety measures from his days as Indiana governor.
Trump met over the weekend with NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, the head of the NRA’s lobbying arm, the two figures who have most prominently pushed the organization’s opposition to tightening US gun laws over the years.
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school massacre, Trump last week promoted the idea of increasing the age limit of those who can purchase semi-automatic rifles from age 18 to age 21. The NRA quickly came out against that position, and congressional Republicans have also expressed resistance to the idea.
Sources told CNN earlier this week that Trump appears to be backing away from that position, though White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Tuesday that Trump still supports raising the age for “the purchase of certain firearms.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta, Kevin Liptak, Eli Watkins and Noah Gray contributed to this report.