Update: Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019 – Trump phoned NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre this week to discuss the prospect of strengthening background checks, according to The Washington Post.
LaPierre reportedly told the president that supporting, presumably, a universal background check bill that criminalizes private transfers would not be popular amongst gun owners.
The White House has not confirmed that the conversation took place and the NRA has not issued a statement about the alleged call.
However, Trump has publicly commented on the “great appetite” for background checks following the tragedies last weekend in Ohio and Texas.
“There is a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite, for background checks. And I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before,” Trump said in front of the White House Wednesday.
“I think both Republican[s] and Democrat[s] are getting close to a bill on, to doing something with background checks,” he continued.
A ban on black rifles was also mentioned by the press during the impromptu briefing, to which the president said, “I can tell you that there is no political appetite for that at this moment,” adding that he “will certainly bring that up” in the ongoing negotiations with legislators.
Many in the gun community oppose universal background checks because they are virtually unenforceable without a national registry of firearms.
Stay tuned for more updates.
Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 – President Trump is asking lawmakers to enact a series of reforms aimed at preventing mass killings following two shootings over the weekend that left as many as 30 dead and dozens more injured. Included on that list are gun confiscation orders.
“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do those firearms can be taken through rapid due process,” said Trump from the White House on Monday.
“That is why I have called for Red Flag laws also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO),” he continued.
In addition to ERPO, Trump also tweeted support for “strong background checks” in the context of “marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.”
….this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2019
Maybe Trump is looking to make a deal: universal background checks in exchange for bipartisan immigration policy. Though, he did not elaborate on this during the address, saying instead that he is willing to listen to ideas “that will actually work.”
Cracking down on violent video-game culture, improving mental health outreach and treatment, working with social media companies to more closely monitor users, and giving the death penalty to convicted mass killers were the other measures the president laid out.
Activists on both sides of the gun divide were disappointed with Trump. Anti-gunners suggested that the president didn’t go far enough to restrict 2A rights while pro-gunners argued that red flag laws are ineffective and unconstitutional.
“Let’s be clear: This is not about mental health, it’s not about video games, it’s not about movies. Those are all NRA talking points. This is about easy access to guns,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, the anti-gun group funded by former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“We’ve been down this road with the president before after Parkland,” Feinblatt continued. “If he actually means what he says, he should call Majority Leader McConnell today to get a public pledge from him that he will call the Senate back immediately and take up bipartisan background checks and Red Flag legislation. No more politics, it’s time for action.”
Gun Owners of America (GOA) Senior Vice President Erich Pratt said it was “frustrating to see President Donald Trump’s continued support for so-called Red Flag laws. These Red Flag laws, properly known as Gun Confiscation Orders, are incompatible with actual due process and allow for the confiscation of firearms from innocent Americans.”
Pratt pointed to a recent incident in Maryland where a man, subject to an ERPO, was killed by police.
Instead of banning “assault weapons,” enacting universal background checks and Red Flag laws, Pratt implored lawmakers to pass H.R. 38, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, as well as H.R. 3200, the Safe Students Act (to repeal gun-free schools).
“We know that firearms in the hands of honest citizens keep us safer. In fact, based on a study commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control, we know that guns are used 16-100 times more often to protect life than to take it. And these defensive gun uses even include the employment of commonly owned, semi-automatic rifles,” explained Pratt.
He then listed the following examples:
- A Houston man fired several rounds while fighting off five home invaders this year, using his AK-47 as his primary means of defense;
- A Florida man utilized his AR-15 to fire 30 rounds while fighting off seven intruders; and,
- A very petite Maryland mom chased three burglars out of her home simply by charging her AR-15.
The next few days should be interesting. Stay tuned for updates.