Donald Trump seems to be in a precarious position on gun rights — and the most well-known gun rights group in the nation just called him out on his questionable stance.
As we reported yesterday, Trump recently held a free-wheeling meeting where he tossed around ideas about how to reduce gun violence in America. The usually pro-gun president made statements that have conservatives scratching their heads, and hoping that he simply misspoke.
“Take the guns first, go through due process second,” Trump declared, referring to proposals to seize firearms when somebody was suspected of being mentally ill or threatening.
The apparent eagerness to go around due process — the checks and balances designed to prevent government overreach — were seen as red flags by many supporters of the Second Amendment and civil liberties in general. So did Trump’s willingness to drop a national concealed carry measure that would allow law-abiding citizens to more easily carry across state lines.
National Rifle Association leaders had apparently seen enough. The gun training and safety group called out the president for pandering to the audience while doing nothing to actually stop crime.
“While today’s meeting made for great TV, the gun control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker declared to The Hill.
“Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies,” the spokeswoman continued.
Baker and the NRA scolded politicians for grouping law-abiding Americans in with the deranged killer in Florida, and pointed out that the appalling failures of government in stopping the shooter at both the federal and local levels reinforced exactly why the Second Amendment is so important.
“Doing everything we can as a nation to address the problem of dangerous people committing heinous acts is not inconsistent with the Second Amendment — the systemic failures of government to keep us safe reinforces the need for the Second Amendment,” Baker said.
“We will continue to support legislative efforts to make our schools and communities safe and oppose gun control schemes that cannot keep us safe and only punish law-abiding Americans,” the NRA spokeswoman concluded.
To his credit — and possibly to everyone’s increasing confusion — Trump seemed to acknowledge that he might have stepped in the proverbial ca-ca during the gun law meeting.
“Many ideas, some good & some not so good, emerged from our bipartisan meeting on school safety yesterday at the White House,” Trump posted on Twitter Thursday morning. (Emphasis added.)
“Background Checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment!” he continued.
Many ideas, some good & some not so good, emerged from our bipartisan meeting on school safety yesterday at the White House. Background Checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2018
A tweet voicing support for the Second Amendment may not go far enough to alleviate fears that Trump isn’t a close ally on gun rights. Seeming to ignore due process as a minor annoyance is not something that can be easily ignored.
The NRA is right on this: It’s important to realize that law-abiding gun owners are not in the same category as a criminal who made repeated threats against a school, and then carried them out. Dealing with criminals does not need to be inconsistent with the Second Amendment.
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