In the very first road show episode of Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co., I sit down with Storm Paglia and Matt Vespa, host of the Triggered podcast to talk about the latest developments in the push for gun control in Washington, D.C.
Friday came and went without any public proclamation from President Donald Trump in support of any new gun control laws, though the lobbying by three senators hoping to expand background checks continues in front of the camera and behind the scenes as well.
After a series of piecemeal conversations among themselves and the president, the senators approached Trump this week with what they say is a compelling message: If they and Trump can sign off on a deal, it will signal to Democratic and Republican leaders that a package can pass. As they see it, uniting the progressive Murphy, conservative Toomey, centrist Manchin and volatile president is the secret sauce the Senate needs to get to 60 votes.
Meanwhile, conservatives in Congress are warning the president that adopting any expansion of gun control will simply play into the hands of gun control activists without actually making the country any safer.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday said if Republicans strike a deal with Democrats to require all firearms sales over the internet or at gun shows to go through background checks, they would demoralize their conservative base ahead of next year’s presidential election.
“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,” Cruz said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, referring to the liberal Democratic senator from Massachusetts who is running for president.
It’s not just Senator Cruz sounding the warning. Montana Senator Steve Daines says there’s no appetite for gun control among his constituents in Big Sky country, and South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds believes there are some serious constitutional concerns surrounding expansions of background checks.
“What I’m looking for is legislation that would actually make a difference, that would still stand the constitutional test involved. I have not yet seen it and I don’t think that particular one stands it either,” he said. “I think there are some challenges when you start talking about regulating between two parties, particularly within the same state.”
“We keep trying to regulate individuals who are not causing problems,” he said, referring to law-abiding gun owners. “We just haven’t seen a proposal that’s going to fix the issues we’re dealing with here. We have to get back to mental health.”
“This is fairly widespread within our conference,” he added.
Earlier this week, I would have said the odds were pretty good that the president would come out in support of some gun control bill, but the longer we wait to hear what Trump has to say, I think the odds that he’ll embrace either an expansion of background check laws and a red flag bill decline. At this point, honestly, I have no idea what the White House plans to do and neither does anyone else. We’re all waiting to see what, if any, legislation the president will embrace and endorse.