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U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed legislation to ban assault rifles as politically unfeasible on Wednesday as he prepared to visit the sites of two deadly mass shootings that shocked the country and drew criticism of his anti-immigrant rhetoric.
As he left the White House, Trump said he wanted to strengthen background checks for gun purchases and make sure mentally ill people did not carry guns.
He predicted congressional support for those two measures but not for banning assault rifles.
"I can tell you that there is no political appetite for that at this moment," Trump told reporters at the White House.
"But I will certainly bring that up ... There is a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite, for background checks." The president faced an uncertain welcome on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, where nine people and the suspect were killed in a rampage early on Sunday and in El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed at a Walmart store on Saturday before the gunman was taken alive.