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Photo: Richard Ellis/Getty Images

President Donald Trump may still be thinking about supporting expanded background checks for gun sales after all.

Driving the news: A memo titled "Idea for New Unlicensed-Commercial-Sale Background Checks" was being circulated as Attorney General Bill Barr and the White House's legislative affairs director Eric Ueland visited this week with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: The president was expected to say this week what, if any, gun control legislation he is prepared to support. Advocates were doubtful he would support expanded background checks because polling suggested it could hurt his standing with core supporters.

The memo, first reported by the Daily Caller and also obtained by Axios, suggests he may be open to background checks depending on feedback from Republican lawmakers.

  • The memo talks about extending a background-check requirement "to all advertised commercial sales, including sales at gun shows."
  • It would be consistent with the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey draft legislation.
  • It would impose civil penalties for failure to keep necessary records.

Where it stands: The president has not said publicly whether he supports the proposal in the memo or is just shopping it. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Trump "has not signed off on anything yet" and said the memo is "not a White House document."

  • Meanwhile, the head of the NRA's lobbying arm, Jason Ouimet, said that the memo is a "nonstarter," because "it burdens law-abiding gun owners while ignoring what actually matters: fixing the broken mental health system and the prosecution of violent criminals."

Read the memo:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with responses from the White House and the NRA.

Go deeper

19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed a working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.