President Trump to Sen. Toomey: 'You're afraid of the NRA'

Toomey 'not afraid of the NRA,' spokesman says

Trump to Toomey: 'You're afraid of the NRA'

WASHINGTON - Raising the age to buy a gun was a hot topic at a meeting between President Donald Trump and a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House.

Streamed live on, the meeting to discuss school safety and gun control led to an exchange between the president and Republican Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

"It doesn't make sense," the president said. "I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun, but I can get a weapon at 18. I don't know. So, I was just curious as to what you did in your bill?"

"We didn't address it," Toomey replied, referring to legislation he co-wrote and introduced with Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to expand background checks.

"You know why? Because you're afraid of the NRA," the president said.

President Trump accused Toomey and other members of Congress of being scared of the National Rifle Association.

Toomey, however, has demonstrated he's not afraid of the NRA or any other special interest group, his press secretary, Steve Kelly, said after Wednesday's meeting at the White House.

"Despite the aggressive opposition of the NRA, Sen. Toomey never wavered in his commitment to this legislation," Kelly said. "The NRA downgraded Sen. Toomey’s rating and refused to back him for re-election. Sen. Toomey has not received a dime from the NRA since joining the Senate."

The president also told lawmakers to put their "best ideas" into a Senate bill and urged Republicans to set aside efforts to expand the concealed-carry provision.

Toomey and Manchin released a joint statement after the meeting:

"What we heard from the president today was very encouraging. His desire for a comprehensive approach to strengthening the background check system, and specifically using Manchin-Toomey as the foundation, would achieve our shared goal of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, and terrorists while respecting the second amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Per the president's instruction, Congress shouldn't wait. We hope our colleagues will join us in cosponsoring the Manchin-Toomey bill and move quickly to keep the American people safe."

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