President Trump is feeling the heat, it seems. Maybe not from his political rivals, who he seems to delight in annoying, but because of the sheer magnitude of what is happening in this country when it comes to mass shootings. He’s starting to think that “something” needs to be done.
As a result, he appears to be considering throwing bump stocks on the sacrificial fire.
An easy call for a president who’s under heavy pressure to act after the Parkland massacre, and who reportedly told aides “we have to do something.” The tricky part is “doing something” that wouldn’t involve any votes in Congress, as Republicans don’t want to get on the wrong side of gun-rights fans in a midterm year. If something’s to be done, the populist-in-chief will need to take the lead. Grassroots righties might hiss if Ryan or McConnell get out in front on this idea but they won’t if Trump does.
Or is that unfair? Remember the polling on bump stocks after the Vegas horror? This actually isn’t a red line for right-wingers on guns. It stands to reason that if you’re comfortable with banning automatic weapons, you should be comfortable with banning an accessory that enables a semiautomatic to fire at near-automatic rates.
It’s important to recognize that bump fire is here to stay, even if you ban bump stocks. There are other ways to bump fire without a special stock. As such, any ban will be useless in stopping, well, anything.
But it will put people out of work.
Hot Air’s Allahpundit goes on to offer:
All of which is to say, what makes this announcement “newsy” isn’t that it’s controversial on the merits, even among righties. It’s newsy because defending gun rights has become a part of Washington GOP orthodoxy, whatever the polling might say. (See also, er, fiscal conservatism.) If you were told in 2016 that this year would bring a Republican president and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, you wouldn’t take “new gun-control regulation” in the pool of things likely to be enacted. But after three horrendous shootings in six months, this is what the politics of the situation are. Trump’s making a prudent move, just maybe not a constitutional one.
He also argues that universal background checks are popular with the masses, though I’m less than convinced. However, I do agree that when it comes to political strategy, this is a smart move.
For one thing, bump stocks are a toy that most people really only care about because they don’t want to give the left any further ground. I’ve known about bump stocks since they came out, and not once have I had any interest in them prior to calls to ban them. I’ve talked with countless people who have shared a similar point of view. In other words, the only reason any of us give a damn about the stocks is because we don’t want to give one more inch to the left.
Yet President Trump isn’t really one of us. By that, I mean he’s not a gun person. He’s not a gun rights advocate. While he has stated his support for the Second Amendment, he’s also far enough away that he may be able to see how throwing bump stocks into the volcano like a sacrificial lamb may well curb calls for other, more invasive acts of gun control. It may also help pave the way for national reciprocity, a deal I’ll take any day of the week as more people will benefit than if we keep bump stocks legal.
I’m not thrilled that Trump is considering this, but I’m willing to take a “wait and see” approach. For now.