President Donald Trump's televised meeting Wednesday with lawmakers on gun control "made for great TV," a National Rifle Association spokesperson told CNN -- but the group was not entertained by the President's apparent sharp turn on policy.
"While today's meeting made for great TV, the gun-control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe," NRA public affairs director Jennifer Baker said. "Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic, our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies."
Lawmakers should focus on "fixing the broken mental health system, strengthening background checks to ensure the records of people who are prohibited from possessing firearms are in the (National Instant Criminal Background Check) system, securing our schools and preventing the dangerously mentally ill from accessing firearms," Baker added.
During the meeting, Trump insisted that he is "a fan of the NRA," but he chided Republicans for being "afraid" of the gun lobby. Meanwhile, he expressed openness to measures that the NRA and some Republicans oppose, including raising the age limit to purchase firearms to 21 from 18. The President's remarks left Republicans visibly shell-shocked and Democrats giddy.
Trump was skeptical that major gun policy changes would present a political risk, saying it would be "so easy" to harness the 60 votes needed to avert a filibuster in the Senate. And he pointedly dismissed the power of the NRA to derail the effort, telling lawmakers in the room, "They have great power over you people, they have less power over me."
"Some of you people are petrified of the NRA," Trump added. "You can't be petrified."