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Friday, March 2, 2018

AP: Trump's Gun Stance a Struggle for Congress, NRA

The Associated Press reports that President Trump's erratic statements pushing gun control has caused efforts to come to a virtual halt in Congress.  For those of us supporting the right to keep and bear arms, that is a good development.
Action on gun legislation has skidded to a halt in Congress — not for a lack of bipartisan proposals, but because President Donald Trump’s stunning shift on gun policy left some in his party confused, irritated and scrambling to figure out what to do next.

Republicans squirmed over Trump’s call for stricter gun laws after the assault on a Florida high school, while Democrats seized on the opening to reach beyond a modest measure gaining traction in Congress. They unveiled a more ambitious priority list, with expanded background checks and even a politically risky ban on assault weapons.

The tug of war over the appropriate response on the school shooting remains far from settled.

Late Thursday, Trump tweeted that he’d had a “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!”
At the same time, the President's comments on Wednesday that guns should be able to be seized from those thought to be a danger to themselves or others and we should deal with due process later should give all of us, whether we support gun rights or not, great pause.
We shouldn't be surprised by the President's shift, despite gun owners strong support for him in 2016.  As National Review's Jim Geraghty pointed out yesterday, the President's love for gun control isn't that sudden.  Geraghty recounted his thoughts from the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting at the time the NRA leadership endorsed Trump's campaign:
My memories of the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Ky., in May 2016 were mostly happy ones, and not merely because it was held in Bourbon Wonderland. But I do remember sitting with Charlie Cooke in a mix of mild surprise and bemusement as the organization enthusiastically endorsed Donald Trump, earlier than it had ever endorsed a presidential candidate before.

Sure, the NRA didn’t have much choice. The Democratic nominee was Hillary Clinton, a gun-control advocate who had declared in a private meeting that “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, and I am going to make that case time and time again,” and who was so shameless that she later claimed in a nationally televised debate that the D.C. handgun ban was aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of toddlers.

But Donald Trump, a Manhattan real-estate mogul who had traveled with his own personal security for years, had never really been a “gun guy.” He says he has a concealed carry permit (hard to get in New York state). In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, he wrote, “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”

The NRA traditionally declined to endorse candidates that supported policies like that, and the group rarely was credulous about conveniently timed changes in position. An endorsement that touted Trump as a longtime defender of the Second Amendment just wouldn’t be accurate. NRA officials Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox did the best they could, speaking extensively about the menace that Hillary Clinton represented, and then touting Trump as . . . well, not Hillary.

“In a few minutes, you’ll be hearing from a man who offers a very different White House,” LaPierre said in his introduction to Trump.

Even in his remarks accepting the endorsement, Trump made comments that suggested he found owning a lot of guns . . . kind of worrisome. “My sons are members,” Trump declared. “They have so many rifles, so many guns, that even I get concerned. I say, ‘That’s a lot!’” The crowd greeted that admission with what can best be described as polite silence.
Let's look at the list of things President Trump has offered over the last week as Geraghty listed them in that article:
  • Endorsed the Assault Weapons Ban.
  • Endorsed background checks for private sales at gun shows.
  • Endorsed raising the age to purchase firearms to 21.
  • Said concealed-carry national reciprocity, “will never pass.” (This has been a priority of the NRA since Trump's election)
And let's not forget he parroted the talking point of the gun banners by saying members of Congress were “petrified of the NRA”.  He then went on to say he was not. “They have great power over you people. They have less power over me.”

Gun owners need to contact the White House and Congress and politely make it known we do not support any of the proposals listed above and that law abiding gun owners had nothing to do with the atrocity that took place in Florida.  It was the failure of government at the local and federal level that did not heed the multiple warnings about the shooter and we will not be the fall guy for their inaction.

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