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He made the comment in an ongoing meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress on school and community safety in the Cabinet Room of the White House on February 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)


Washington(ANN)-Trump asked Republican Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin if they included raising the age limit for buying guns in a bill they co-sponsored.

“We didn’t address that, Mr. President,” Toomey said.

“You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA,” responded the president with a chuckle. “It’s a big issue right now. A lot of people are talking about it.”

Trump made the comment in the wake of a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on the afternoon of February 14, when 17 students and school staff were killed and 16 more were injured by a 19-year-old carrying an AR-15 rifle.

“A lot of people are afraid of that issue — raising the age for that weapon to 21.”

The shooter, identified as Nikolas Cruz, managed to fire some 100 shots by the rifle.

“You can’t buy a handgun at 18, 19 or 20 — you have to wait until you’re 21 but you can buy the gun, the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18,” noted Trump (pictured below).

For the GOP-sponsored bill, Republicans did not get enough votes to raise the age restriction.

The issue made the GOP president back away from the bill and turn to a talking point from Democrats.

However, he described himself a fan of the powerful National Rifle Association, which has strong influence on US politicians.

“I can say that the NRA is opposed to it and I’m a fan of the NRA, there’s no bigger fan,” Trump said. “But that doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything.”

Flanked by Republican Senators Pat Toomey (L) and Kevin Brady, US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with members of Congress on trade in the Cabinet Room of the White House on February 13, 2018 in Washington, DC.

In response, Toomey suggested that the decision had nothing to do with the NRA.

“My reservation about it frankly is that the vast majority of 18, 19 and 20-year-olds in Pennsylvania, who have a rifle or shotgun… they’re law-abiding citizens,” the senator countered. “They have that because they want to use it for hunting or target shooting and to deny them their second amendment right isn’t going to make anyone safer.”