Trump meeting NRA to discuss terror watch list gun restrictions

Trump meeting NRA to discuss terror watch list gun restrictions

US presidential hopeful Donald Trump is to meet the National Rifle Association (NRA) to discuss ways to block people on terrorism watch lists or no-fly lists from buying guns.

The presumptive Republican nominee's meeting with the gun lobbying group comes as his party scrambles to respond in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in modern US history.

Mr Trump tweeted: "I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns."

The powerful lobbying group, which endorsed Mr Trump last month, tweeted: "Happy to meet @realdonaldtrump. Our position is no guns for terrorists_period. Due process & right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans."

Mr Trump's declaration comes days after a mass shooting in Orlando which left 49 people dead. It emerged that the gunman, Omar Mateen, had been investigated twice by the FBI, and had been on the US government's terrorist watch list for 10 months before being removed.

The shooting has renewed the debate over gun control regulations, with several leading Democrats - including Mr Trump's likely general election foe, Hillary Clinton - calling for people on the federal lists to be barred from purchasing firearms.

Mateen was added to a government watch list of individuals known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities in 2013, when he was investigated for inflammatory statements to co-workers.

Mr Trump frequently declares that he is one of the nation's biggest supporters of the US Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear firearms, and he often warns his supporters that Mrs Clinton aims to take away their guns.

However, his suggestion to prohibit those on the lists from getting the guns, though out of step with many leading Republicans, is not entirely new for the celebrity businessman.

In an interview on ABC in November after the terror attacks in Paris, George Stephanopoulus asked: "Mr Trump, yes or no: should someone on the terror watch list be allowed to buy a gun?"

Mr Trump replied, "If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it's an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely."

He continued, however, to suggest that if the gun control laws in Paris were not so strict, some of the victims of the terror attacks would have been able to shoot back at the terrorists, keeping the overall casualty count down.

The position he took on Wednesday breaks from the NRA, which denounced any possible ban just the day before.

"Restrictions like bans on gun purchases by people on 'watch lists' are ineffective, unconstitutional, or both," the NRA tweeted on Tuesday.

The NRA has maintained previously that it "does not want terrorists or dangerous people to have firearms," claiming that "any suggestion otherwise is offensive and wrong".

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