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Gun owners turn on Donald Trump over plans to bring in tighter restrictions

Maya Oppenheim

Donald Trump’s proposal to introduce modest gun control measures in the wake of the Florida shooting has enraged gun owners and gun lobbying groups.

The US president has floated the idea of expanding background checks for gun purchases, limiting young people’s access to guns, and ending the sale of “bump stocks” after 17 students and staff members were killed in the school massacre.

Mr Trump, whose suggestions signal a radical U-turn from his previous position on gun control, has incensed members of the National Rifle Association (NRA), which donated more than $30m (£21.4m) to his presidential campaign.

Gun advocates have threatened legal action and political retribution despite the fact the President has made no formal commitment to his gun control measures and has yet to propose a legislative timetable.

The leader has also spent a great deal of the week pushing the idea of arming teachers and school officials - a proposal the pro-gun lobby is in favour of.

Gun Owners of America released an alert earlier this week making a plea for its 1.5 million members to call the White House and "Tell Trump to OPPOSE All Gun Control!"

The organisation said anti-gun activists - buoyed by congressional Democrats - are endeavouring to persuade the President he should "support their disastrous gun control efforts and sadly it may be working."

"Out in the firearms community there is a great feeling of betrayal and abandonment, because of the support he was given in his campaign for president," Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado Sports Shooting Association, said on Friday.

Paul Paradis, who owns a gun store in Colorado Springs, was enthused by the prospect of allowing teachers to carry firearms on campus but was sceptical about outlawing bump stocks and increasing the age requirement for buying a long gun.

Mr Paradis said: "Trump can propose anything he wants but it's got to get through two houses of Congress and the Supreme Court,"

Mr Trump, who received the most gun lobby funding of any presidential candidate, proposed ending the sale of "bump stocks" which are devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to acts as automatics earlier in the week.

The president suggested the NRA would follow his lead. "They love our Country and will do the right thing," he tweeted.

In the wake of the deadly Florida school shooting, many of the student survivors have campaigned for greater gun control and focused a great deal of their attention on the pro-gun lobbying efforts of the hugely influential NRA.

The organisation is strongly opposed to raising the legal age for the purchase of long guns from 18 to 21 and has firmly disputed expanding background checks in the past.

The NRA spend more than $5m lobbying for guns rights in 2017, according to OpenSecrets.org. The group lobbied for bills to repeal bans on gun silencers, reduce the amount of information available for background checks, and make concealed-carry permits valid across the country, among other things.

Additional reporting from agencies