President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit first responders at Broward Health North Hospital in Pompano Beach, Florida. Photo: Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump has told associates that he doesn’t think high school kids should be able to buy guns, and is open to the idea of imposing a minimum purchase age of 21 for guns like those used in the Florida high school massacre, a source close to the president said.

But, but, but: The source cautioned that the conversations with the president have been relatively loose and open-ended so far. Nothing has been decided, or is close to decided, on the age question.

  • A federally licensed firearms dealer can't sell a long gun (rifle or shotgun) to someone under 18, or a handgun to someone under 21. Some states impose additional minimums.
  • At 4:15 p.m. today, Trump holds a "listening session" on guns with high school students and teachers in the White House's State Dining Room.

Trump announced yesterday that he had ordered the Justice Department to write regulations banning devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre, saying: “We can do more to protect our children. We must do more to protect our children."

  • The White House said earlier that Trump is open to toughening background checks.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders left the door open to a change in the law when she was asked about age limits at the podium yesterday:

  • Q: "Does the President believe there should be an age limit for those who buy an AR-15? As you know, the shooter in Florida was a teenager when he first bought an AR-15." ...
  • Sanders: " I think that's certainly something that's on the table for us to discuss, and that we expect to come up over the next couple of weeks."

Inside Trump's thinking: The Parkland deaths — and the constant coverage of the tragedy that he has been consuming — inflames his instincts to act, even if it contradicts what he campaigned on.

  • We're told that Trump has said privately: "We have to do something. We've got kids dying."
  • The "kids" part is important, and the images on TV have affected his conversation.

The calculus: Trump's closeness to the NRA gives him the political leeway to act, and would give him the bipartisan love he craves.

  • As he looks toward improving his standing in the suburbs ahead of his reelection race in 2020, nothing would give him more fawning from the "Morning Joe" crowd than taking on the NRA.
  • As Trump ponders this question, a few aides in the West Wing will wander down the corridor and tell him: "This is your moment. You’ll be a hero."

Be smart: All that said, Trump is ultimately unlikely to do anything dramatic on guns. He might play footsie with the gun control lobby, but he knows his absolutist Second Amendment stance played a big role in his election victory.

Get more stories like this by signing up for our weekly political lookahead newsletter, Axios Sneak Peek. 

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 31,433,180 — Total deaths: 966,970— Total recoveries: 21,546,587Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,882,969 — Total deaths: 200,477 — Total recoveries: 2,615,974 — Total tests: 95,846,925Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.
1 hour ago - Podcasts

The big business of immigrant detention

Around 70% of all immigration detention centers are run by private companies, including the one at the heart of a new whistleblower complaint that alleges systemic medical neglect and malpractice.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the business of immigrant detention, including oversight and profit incentives, with Jonathan Blitzer, a staff writer for the New Yorker who’s covered the subject for years.

Biden campaign plans travel around competitive Senate races

Joe Biden elbow-bumping a worker during a campaign stop in Wisconsin. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is storming states with competitive Senate races this week to help boost Democratic candidates in the run-up to the election.

Why it matters: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death is galvanizing Democrats to fight harder for control of the Senate with less than two months before Election Day.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!