According to polling, universal background checks are pretty popular in this country. In fact, if the numbers are accurate, it almost stands to reason a fair number of gun owners also support universal background checks. Yes, it appears they’re that well-liked.
However, I’m skeptical of polling in general. They get a lot of stuff wrong and I’m not convinced they’ve fixed the issues that led to them getting the 2016 election so disastrously wrong.
Regardless, there’s still a lot of support for these measures. Where there doesn’t appear to be support for them, though, is in the Oval Office.
President Donald Trump reportedly privately reassured National Rifle Association boss Wayne LaPierre that he would not pursue increased background check measures for firearms amid rising mass shooting concerns.
Trump, whose comments to LaPierre were reported by The Atlantic, made the guarantee during a phone call on Tuesday afternoon — a day after he told reporters that the U.S. already has “very strong” background checks and warned that increasing such measures could lead to a “slippery slope” where all guns are taken away. One source told The Atlantic that Trump cemented “his stance that we already have background checks and that he’s not waffling on this anymore” during his chat with the NRA chief.
“He doesn’t want to pursue it,” the unnamed person familiar with the conversation added, adding that instead of universal background checks Trump is considering “increasing funding” for mental health programs and using the Justice Department to federally prosecute “gun crime.”
This doesn’t touch on claims that Trump may support red flag laws, though.
The news didn’t sit well with some gun control proponents who, unsurprisingly, believe that universal background checks are essential in the wake of Dayton and El Paso. Apparently, the lack of evidence that background checks would have stopped either of those two non-felons from legally buying a gun is lost on some people.
Regardless, the reassurance from Trump is good news for gun rights advocates, many of whom were like myself and less than pleased that the president was willing to make anti-gun moves in the wake of the two deadly attacks. It’s not difficult to understand why he might, but it seems the president is backing away from that political ledge.
That’s good news for us, but that still leaves the subject of red flag laws.
For better or worse, I think we’re going to get stuck with those until such time that the courts strike them down as unconstitutional. Of course, that leads to the question of whether the courts will ever get around to doing that. I’m skeptical, but not because I think it’s constitutional. Far from it. Instead, the courts seem to give the government fairly wide latitude on matters like this.
Of course, that’s a matter for another time. Right now, there’s no movement on either and it’s been suggested that if there isn’t any come the end of September, there won’t be. With Trump not riding the universal background check train, that makes any such deal even harder. We’ll have to see, though.
Still, I’ll take my good news where I can and this is definitely good news.