Chances of New Gun Controls Fade with the Passage of Time

Aug. 12, 2019
Bob Adelmann

Once the media hype dies down, the present push for more infringements on the rights of law-abiding gun owners will fade away as well. It is helpful to remember what is perhaps the single most important legacy of the Trump administration: the outing of the mainstream media as nothing more than howling dogs barking at each other over the back fence. They have been exposed as mouthpieces for the Deep State. They are like the Boy Who Cried Wolf: if you always tell lies, people will eventually stop believing you; and then when you're telling the truth for a change, when you really need them to believe you, they won't.

It's also helpful to remember that the president has no ideological foundation rooted in the Constitution. He's the ultimate pragmatist, a businessman seeking only to solve problems the most expeditious way possible. He also would like very much to get reelected next November.

Put all that together then, and the New York Times is right: Said the paper, the president's past "flip-flops" on background checks "raises questions about his real commitment to legislation that would improve the background check system."

Liberal Politico agrees:

The odds of serious gun control legislation clearing Congress and being signed into law remain slim. [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell has shown no interest in the past; the same goes for his conference.

And the same pattern has played out over and over: a public outcry after a mass shooting, followed by hand-wringing among lawmakers for a few days or weeks, before the issue fades.

Even ferocious anti-gunner Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has admitted: "The question is, what difference can the federal government make in what is largely a state decision [on red flag laws]. I'm all for federal action on extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs). I'm just not sure it's going to move the needle."

Trump is getting plenty of pushback on his calls for more gun control laws following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Since last Monday he has been calling a great number of people for their advice and counsel, and he has been getting an earful.

He spoke several times with Wayne LaPierre, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Rifle Association (NRA – membership: 5 million plus). On Thursday, LaPierre issued a statement condemning the push for more gun controls, including expanded background checks to include private sales and Congressional pressure urging states (along with promises of federal money) to adopt red flag laws:

I'm not inclined to discuss private conversations with President Trump or other key leaders on this issue. But I can confirm that the NRA opposes any legislation that unfairly infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens.

The inconvenient truth is this: the proposals being discussed by many would not have prevented the horrific tragedies in El Paso and Dayton. Worse, they would make millions of law-abiding Americans less safe and less able to defend themselves and their loved ones.

LaPierre added: "The NRA will work in good faith to pursue real solutions to the epidemic of violence in America. But many proposals are nothing more than 'soundbite solutions' which fail to address the root of the problem, confront criminal behavior, or make our communities safer."


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The next day, Trump's Tweet appeared to indicate a softening of his stance that his administration had to do something, even if it risked losing critical support of his primary base: gun owners. He tweeted:

Serious discussions are taking place between House and Senate leadership on meaningful Background Checks. I have also been speaking to the NRA, and others, so that their very strong views can be fully represented and respected.

But he added:

Guns should not be placed in the hands of mentally ill or deranged people. I am the biggest Second Amendment person there is, but we all must work together for the good and safety of our Country. Common sense things can be done that are good very everyone.

This was a flat repudiation of previous promises made by the president. He told his supporters at the recent NRA annual meeting that "Your Second Amendment rights are under siege. But they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am your president." Ever the pragmatist, Trump, if he persists, will see the strongest part of his base start melting away.

Rush Limbaugh (13.25 million unique listeners) was quick to remind his listeners that another law wouldn't change anything: "There's not a single new law that would change anything. The only thing a new law would do is it would drive a wedge between Trump and his voters and the NRA. Because, make no mistake, they [anti-gun politicians] want your guns. They want every gun you've got as quickly as they can get it."

John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said "I have a lot of concerns about the due process component of [red flag laws] and I don't want to punish law-abiding citizens."

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF – membership: 650,000 plus), said he was one of those the president had called during the week about a "range of ideas" following the mass shootings, including red flag laws and the resurrection of the 1994 Clinton ban of semi-automatic rifles. He said, based on his conversation with the president, that there is "no way" the White House would back such a resurrection: "There's no justification for banning those because less than one percent ever get misused to start with. There are millions in civilians' hands right now. What are you going to do, go door to door and confiscate them?"

Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America (GOA – membership: two million plus), described red flag laws as allowing "police to convene a Kafkaesque secret proceeding in which an American can be stripped of his or her gun rights and Fourth Amendment rights, even though [they] are barred from participating in the hearings or arguing their side of the dispute.… If the Constitution can be suspended in a secret hearing, where does this lead?"

Matt Schlapp, a close ally of the president and head of the American Conservative Union (ACU), said "I don't think the president or his Republican allies are going to become … advocates of aggressive gun control."

Once the noise from the media dies down, and Congress gets back to work next month, the chances for "meaningful" infringements of precious rights will become last month's issue du jour. The Second Amendment remains the third rail of American politics and politicians, including the president. Whoever touches it will rue the day.

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Sources:

FairyTalesoftheWorld.com: The boy who cried wolf

The Washington Post: Trump's openness to extensive background checks for gun buys draws warning from NRA

Politico: Sen. John Barrasso throws cold water on new gun legislation

The Washington Post: After shootings, Democrats rethink reluctance on assault weapons ban

Politico: Donald Trump's Nixon-to-China moment on guns

The New York Times: Past Flip-Flops Cloud Trump's Position on Background Checks

Breitbart: NRA Warns Trump and McConnell Against Gun Control

CommonDreams.org: Pushback After Trump Says Views of NRA Should Be 'Fully Represented and Respected'

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