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(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

After two weeks of shifting musings on gun measures, President Trump is expected to miss a self-imposed deadline to produce specific proposals on Friday, according to aides — in the latest sign of how chaos in the White House is hampering policymaking.

Lawmakers from both parties have told Trump they can succeed in passing the comprehensive package of gun safety proposals he's asked for only if he leads the debate, and provides Republicans with political cover to stand up to the formidable gun lobbies in a perilous election year. Even so, many fear the president won't keep his word given his reversals in the past, notably on immigration and healthcare.

The difficulties the administration has had in forging and communicating a policy to respond to the shooting deaths of 17 students and staff members at a Florida high school two weeks ago highlight how, more than a year into his tenure, Trump has been unable to translate his impulses into actual legislative proposals, or stick to positions long enough to do so.

(Mandel Ngan / AFP)

President Trump reassured the National Rifle Assn. in a Thursday evening meeting of his support for 2nd Amendment gun rights but stuck by his proposal to set a minimum federal age of 21 to buy long guns, his press secretary said on Friday. 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders also indicated that Trump does not support universal background checks for gun buyers, which would expand to include sales at gun shows and over the internet that are currently exempt. The president wants to improve the current system but is “not necessarily” in favor of background checks for all gun purchases, she said.

Trump’s Oval Office meeting with NRA lobbyist Chris Cox, which was not listed on his public schedule, came a day after he’d rattled his allies among gun rights groups by telling lawmakers to send him a bill with a number of limits on gun ownership, including the age limit to buy assault weapons like the one used last month in the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school and several others.