Dems rip Trump for 'trying to have it both ways' on gun control

President Trump is “trying to have it both ways” on gun control — but could “move mountains” if he truly threw his weight behind stronger gun restrictions, Sen. Chris Murphy said Sunday.

Murphy (D-Conn.) and other supporters of stronger rules appealed to Trump Sunday to take the lead on the gun violence issue, after a week where he broke with many in his party and expressed support for expanding background checks and taking guns away from potentially dangerous people.

“The President has the potential to move mountains here,” Murphy, a prominent gun control supporter, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “If the President wants to do this, all he has to do is get about 10 or 15 Democratic, Republican senators to the table.”

At a meeting with lawmakers Wednesday, Trump called for “beautiful” and “comprehensive” gun laws including raising the legal age to buy rifles, expanded background checks, and taking guns away from potentially violent people — even before going through due process.

But after a meeting with the National Rifle Association the next day, the White House dialed back expectations, stressing Trump’s support for the Second Amendment.

RELATED: Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure

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Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure
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Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react after the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sheryl Acquaroli, (L), and Ashley Santoro, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, raises his hand as part of a move to make members of the House of Representatives have their vote recorded during his request to have a bill banning assault rifles pulled from committee and brought immediately to the House for a vote at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, looks on his computer at gun control bills moving through the Senate as he talks with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those that support their cause, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School walk by a sign in the Senate office building on the way to speak with Florida state legislators, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocating for a change in gun control laws listen during a meeting with Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Florence Yared, 17, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, waits in a hallway to speak with Florida state legislators about legislation that could prevent future tragedies, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
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“The President is trying to have it both ways. I think he knows that the mood of the country has shifted such that he and his party are going to pay a huge price in the polls in 2018 and 2020 if they don't start supporting things like universal background checks,” Murphy said.

“At the same time, the NRA was one of his earliest supporters...so he's trying to keep them happy as well. The fact of the matter is, his instincts in that meeting are not wrong. And if he and the Republicans don't start showing some movement in the wake of Parkland, there aren't going to be as many Republicans around for him come 2019.”

Murphy predicted Trump would continue to “bob and weave” on guns — like he did on immigration, where he first expressed support for restoring protection from deportation for some young immigrants, before flipping to a more hardline stance.

“That can't happen if he's not willing to lead,” he said of a comprehensive gun package. “Republicans have been so tied to the NRA over the years that unless he tells them that they have to move, nothing is going to happen.”

Moderates in both parties who would like to see new rules also called on Trump to take the lead.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, is sponsoring a bill along with Republican Sen. Pat Toomey to require background checks for gun sales at gun shows, online sales, and other transactions where they aren’t currently mandated.

RELATED: President Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety

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President Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety
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President Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif wipes tears next to Nicole Hockley of Sandy Hook Promise as U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school shooting survivors and students to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C), with US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (2nd L) and Vice President Muike Pence (2nd R), bows his head during a prayer before taking in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, center, speaks during a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump holds his prepared questions as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Parent Melissa Blank (L) and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (C) and Julia Cordover (R) listen to other survivors and the families of victims as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety and shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks watches as US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US Vice President Mike Pence takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump promised more stringent background checks on gun owners Wednesday as he hosted a group of students who survived last week's mass shooting at a Florida high school. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicole Hockley, mother of a slain Sandy Hook Elementary School student, attends a listening session hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump for school shooting survivors and students in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (2nd L) and Julia Cordover (2nd R) as well as Jonathan's mother Melissa Blank (L) listen along with U.S. President Donald Trump as survivors and the relatives of victims speak during a listening session with high school students, family members and teachers to discuss school safety and guns at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) Andrew Pollack (2nd L), whose daughter Meadow Pollack was shot to death last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is joined by his sons as he addresses a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session about school safety in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with student survivors of school shootings, their parents, teachers and others in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif cries after his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during his listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to host a listening session with high school students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Samuel Zeif, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, cries after speaking at a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump, second right, on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump vows 'strong background checks' as he met with school shooting survivors. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank receives a hug from Sandy Hook parent Mark Barden (back to camera), whose son Daniel was a victim of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Connecticut, after U.S. President Donald Trump held a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump departs after a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School parent Andrew Pollack discusses the death of his daughter Meadow in the Parkland school shooting as he and his sons attend a listening session on school safety and shootings with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump vows 'strong background checks' as he met with school shooting survivors. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif gestures a "zero" and says that he believes Australia solved their school shooting problem by banning firearms, when delivering his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during his listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif (L) talks about a friend who was shot and killed as he delivers his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during a listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (C) and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (R) attends a listening session hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump with student survivors of school shootings, their parents and teachers in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Jonathan Blank and his mother Melissa Blank (L) before hosting a listening session school shooting survivors, their parents, teachers and others in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a listening session on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, greets Samuel Zeif, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, at a listening session on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump listens as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Carson Abt speaks during a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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“President Trump coming forth to something like this and putting his support behind it will give Republicans enough cover to support this — the most reasonable, responsible way,” he said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Requiring buyers of rifles to be 21, instead of 18 under current law, is a “no brainer,” he added, “but again, it’s going to take the President’s support to put that into the bill, to make sure we can get the votes to pass it.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he’ll introduce a “red flag” bill this week, which would allow law enforcement or relatives to go to court and ask for a restraining order to have guns taken away from someone they think is dangerous.

The gunman who killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., school had been reported to law enforcement multiple times, but there is little legal recourse before any crime has been committed.

“Nobody did a damn thing. So this bill would allow judges to take guns away from a guy like this before it’s too late,” Graham said on “Face the Nation.” “I hope the President will get behind this.”

Graham said Trump has a responsibility to outline a package of gun legislation he wants to see pass.

“You have an obligation to give us a package to consider,” he said. “Propose something, Mr. President. I think Republicans have an obligation to work with Democrats to make it law.”

Republicans will pay the political price if they don’t allow votes on legislation like the red flag law, Graham warned.

“If we don’t, we’re going to get hurt, because most Americans believe we should solve the problems that Americans are facing like gun violence and school safety problems,” he said.

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