US President Donald Trump speaks to the press at the White House as he departs for Cincinnati to hold a campaign rally in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2019. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

After a weekend that left at least 29 people dead and dozens injured in two separate mass shooting events, President Trump is calling on lawmakers in Congress to reconsider background check legislation as a first step to addressing the nation’s gun crisis. He also appeared to lay some of the blame at the hands of the news media. 

“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!” the president added.

Mr. Trump then took aim at the press, saying the “Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country.”

This isn’t the first time the president has been vocal about expanding background checks in the wake of mass shooting events. In 2018, he expressed support for the FIX NICS Act aimed at improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the federal database used for background checks in gun purchases.

In February, the Democratic-controlled House approved a bill requiring federal background checks be performed on all gun sales, including at gun shows following a string of mass shootings. A companion bill, also passed by the House, would allow for more time for sellers to receive background checks on potential customers.

The legislation has become a rallying cry for Democrats who say background checks could help prevent tragedies carried out by those suffering from apparent mental illness. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer cited the House-backed legislation as grounds for calling the Senate back to Washington for an emergency session. 

“Leader McConnell, do the right thing,” Schumer said on Sunday. “Call an emergency session. Wherever the senators are. Put the House bill on the floor, and it will pass. And the president, my guess is, will have no choice but to sign it. And maybe we can do something to begin dealing with gun laws in a rational way.”

Republicans who control the Senate however, have claimed that legislation such as this would impose unreasonable requirements on gun owners. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump appeared to place some of the blame for the weekend’s violence on his frequent foe — the news media — suggesting “fake news” had contributed to the “anger and rage that has built up over many years.”

“News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!” he added. 

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