Montana Gov. Steve Bullock spoke with President Donald Trump about gun violence during a gathering of the nation's governors Monday at the White House.
A transcript of the exchange was posted to Whitehouse.gov:
GOVERNOR BULLOCK: Mr. President, again, thank you for having us. I approach this, certainly, as a governor. I approach it as a gun owner; that 11-year-old got his first deer —
THE PRESIDENT: That’s right.
GOVERNOR BULLOCK: — this past fall.
THE PRESIDENT: He’s a good boy.
GOVERNOR BULLOCK: I approach it as a victim. I had a nephew, shot and killed — an 11-year-old — on a playground. I approach it as a parent with three young kids, saying, just like every other parent and grandparent, we need to do everything we can to keep our kids safe.
I think parenthetically, sometimes the language that we use can help define some things that certainly understand the idea of hardening schools. But that seems like we’re hardening potential military targets. I think we, as leaders, need to be saying we’re going to do everything we can to make that school safe for the kids.
I think that there are steps, and many of them you begin to reference, that we could take that could make a difference. If we can look at this as a public health issue. You mentioned the NICS system. We can improve the instant check system. And we also know about a quarter of the guns that are sold don’t even get into that system. So a universal background check. We know that 10 percent of our homicides each year are in intimate relationships. So the orders of protection, the domestic violence, making sure that’s in NICS.
As Governor Scott mentioned, red-flag laws. Making sure that law enforcement and families have a way, still using due process, to actually remove guns from people that might be that imminent threat.
I applaud you on bump stocks. That’s one of those things that there is no other reason. And we could certainly look at the higher magazine capacity as well. It’s one of those things that you probably don’t need.
And I encourage you, as you go on the path of looking at what you can do in schools — I used to be attorney general and ran the law enforcement academy, too, and would graduate these police officers each and every year. I want to make sure, if somebody is armed in a school, that they have that training; that we know that he or she — it’s much more, as I think you recognize, than just carrying concealed — that they have that training that I, as a parent, can say that this person, under pressure, will know what to do with a firearm before we start introducing the firearms into our schools.
I think we’re at a unique — hopefully, we’re at a unique moment — where, certainly, as I said — you know, 43 times since I’ve been governor, I’ve been asked to lower the flags. Twelve of them have been for mass shootings in the last five years.
It’s almost, on the one hand, to the point that we’re getting desensitized, but other hand, here is a moment where everybody is talking, where we can hopefully start saying, “What could actually meaningfully impact this, not just for today, but for the future?”
So, thank you so much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Governor.
GOVERNOR BULLOCK: And I hope that those areas, you’ll certainly take both the bully pulpit and the leadership in Congress.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Great points. It was great being with you last night.