US President, Donald Trump has stunned lawmakers from both parties by accusing them of being “petrified” of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
In a break from his party’s anti-gun control stance, Mr Trump urged lawmakers during a televised meeting to come up with a “strong” reform bill.
The NRA said that Mr Trump’s remarks “made for great TV”, but “would make for bad policy” if implemented.
The US gun debate has been reignited by a deadly school shooting in Florida.
“I want you to come up with a strong bill and really strong on background checks,” Mr Trump told lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday, pushing them to work together on bipartisan legislation.
In the meeting, which was broadcast live from the White House, Democrats looked gleeful as Mr Trump suggested expanding background checks for gun buyers and raising the legal age to buy rifles from 18 to 21.
The Republican president said the NRA has “great power over you people”, but that the lobby has “less power over me”.
The president also accused Senator Pat Toomey of being “afraid” of the NRA, even though the Pennsylvania Republican has worked on a bill to strengthen background checks for gun purchases.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre occurred, agreed with the president.
He said the NRA has a “veto power” over any gun control legislation in Congress.
Mr Trump said he had previously told NRA officials: “It’s time. We’ve got to stop this nonsense. It’s time.”