UPDATE: Sorry, folks—I forgot to mention that Trump said he would look at Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) ban on so-called assault weapons. Is he open to it? That appeared to be the case when he suggested adding the assault weapons provision into Manchin-Toomey 2.0. Feinstein was thrilled. It just adds another layer to this rather disappointing meeting today.
Sen. Feinstein to Trump: "Senator Murphy and 26 of us have co-sponsored a new [assault weapons ban] bill. I would be most honored if you would take a look at it" pic.twitter.com/JeG3bno066— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 28, 2018
So Trump:— michaelscherer (@michaelscherer) February 28, 2018
1. Wants to discuss adding Assault Weapons Ban to Manchin Toomey
2. Does not want to add Bump stocks, since he will do himself.
3. Wants to separate concealed carry reciprocity into separate bill
Feinstein's reaction when Trump says she should add assault weapons ban to Manchin-Toomey pic.twitter.com/7dlKxwa1KO— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) February 28, 2018
Prior to their meeting with President Trump, members of Congress did not know where he stood on gun issues and the Second Amendment. Well, they might have had an idea, though they wanted more “clarity.” President Trump has said he wants to do a few things in the aftermath of the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which has shocked the nation, but also energized the small, but vocal army of the anti-gun Left.
The meeting went as their previous one on immigration. Trump went around the room, asked for opinions, and engaged in a dialogue with Democratic and Republican members of Congress. Some of it was grounded, where the president discussed his desire to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill and the unstable. No one disagrees with that, but where it went off the hinges is where he advocated for a comprehensive bill that included universal background checks without concealed carry reciprocity and the confiscation of firearms from those who might be considered a danger without due process.
“Take the guns first, go through due process second,” Trump said, responding to Vice President Mike Pence’s proposal, where he mentioned due process with regards to taking weapons away from those who might be unstable to avoid civil rights from being trampled. Trump said that could take too long.
WATCH: President Trump: "I like taking the guns early ... Take the guns first, go through due process second." pic.twitter.com/aydEZdAGq0— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 28, 2018
JUST NOW: "I like taking the guns early," President Trump says. "Take the guns first, go through due process second."— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) February 28, 2018
who’s excited to ask Republican senators if they agree with the Republican president that law enforcement should confiscate guns without regard for due process???— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) February 28, 2018
Trump mentioned multiple times that he’s a big Second Amendment supporter and a big fan of the National Rifle Association, with whom he had lunch with the executive leadership on Sunday. The president said he told them, “It's time. We're going to stop this nonsense.”
Trump: "Hey, look, I'm the biggest fan of the second amendment. Many of you are. I'm a big fan of the NRA. I had lunch with them.. and said, it's time. We're going to stop this nonsense" pic.twitter.com/Ng7fsl9n0Y— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 28, 2018
As mentioned before, Trump supports raising the age limit for the purchasing of long guns to 21, something that Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) balked at for the simple reason that a) it denies Americans of voting-age their Second Amendment rights; b) he represents a hunting state; and c) there are already a lot of 18,19, and 20 year olds in his state and elsewhere who have rifles for target practice and hunting. Toomey, along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) tried to do a comprehensive background check bill after Newtown, which failed. But it’s been rehashed, with the president wanting to add mental health provisions, raising the age limit for firearms, and having universal background checks, while nixing any hope of having concealed carry reciprocity attached to the legislation to make it at least palatable to Republicans.
Manchin tells Trump that Manchin-Toomey background checks bill will pass with Trump's support— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) February 28, 2018
Trump: "You could buy the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18... I would give very serious thought to it" pic.twitter.com/gat5n3zWw4— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 28, 2018
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) explains the Manchin-Toomey legislation— Matt Viser (@mviser) February 28, 2018
Trump: You didn’t have presidential support.
Toomey: Well, actually, we did. Obama supported it.
Trump: Well, that was your problem.
The only “entertaining” part of the meeting was when Toomey mentioned that Obama supported his failed legislation, which Trump responded by saying, “well, that was your problem.” Manchin was smirking.
Yet, in all, this meeting was a total disaster. It pretty much was a capitulation to pro-gun control Democrats. While gun bans aren’t on the table, though the latest bill from Democrats comes pretty damn close to that—gun confiscation with no due process is troubling. The raising of the age limit for firearms is another way to chip away and deny Americans their Second Amendment rights. Also, is there any way to conduct universal background checks without a national database? That’s what Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote in an op-ed for CNN after Sandy Hook, citing the American Civil Liberties Union.
If I were the NRA, I would feel like I’ve been thrown under the bus. Here’s how they explained why they endorsed Trump in 2016:
When asked if the NRA was concerned about comments in favor of new gun control Trump had made in the years before his presidential run, Cox pointed to Trump's current positions and said the candidate no longer supports an assault weapons ban.
"His first position paper that he put out on the campaign was on immigration," he said. "The second position paper was on the Second Amendment. I encourage people to go to his website and read his Second Amendment paper that outlines his opposition to gun bans, his opposition to magazine bans."
"He was asked about a past comment he had made 20 some odd years ago about supporting a semi-auto ban and he said he no longer supports that position. So, you look at the campaign he's running and the positions he's articulating versus the one hundred percent certainty that we know with Hillary Clinton and that decision becomes crystal clear."
Did the Parkland shooting happen because we have lax gun laws and a broken system or is it due to government incompetence? It’s starting to look like the latter. The FBI was informed and did nothing. Local law enforcement was called to the shooter’s home over 40 times, with some calls detailing how the shooter could be a threat to the public—nothing happened. Concerning state officials, if the shooter’s self-mutilation was taken seriously, he could have been committed via Baker Act. That would have shown up on a background check, which could have prevented him from buying an AR-15 in February of 2017, days after he was expelled from the school. It seems the system is not in a crisis mode, we just have incompetent people administering it. As for bump stocks, Trump vowed to ban them through executive order. President Trump has done a lot of good for the country, but I have to disagree with him vociferously on this one.
The President seems to want a comprehensive piece of legislation that includes Fix NICS, universal background checks, something on mental health, and a ban on those under 21 owning firearms.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) February 28, 2018
So, if I'm understanding this meeting right, Trump supports adding universal background checks to Fix NICS but not concealed carry reciprocity. If that's true it's a big win for democrats and gun control activists.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) February 28, 2018
From a senior GOP aide: "The President just killed stand-alone Fix NICS."— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) February 28, 2018
so far Trump supports adding every Democratic idea into a base bill— Jim Newell (@jim_newell) February 28, 2018
.@JohnCornyn on the gun summit: “I thought it was fascinating television.” Us too ....— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) February 28, 2018
Last point: this is why you should be able to buy rifles and shotguns at 18. If raising the age to purchase long guns were enacted, this single mother, who was 18 at the time of this attack, would have been left defenseless in the face of a home invasion.