While we aren’t likely to see any proposals on gun control coming down from the White House this week, not after yesterday’s revelations, we do know that President Donald Trump has expressed some desire to expand background checks. That may or may not have anything to do with ranking Democrats arguing that they won’t consider any plan without universal background checks somewhere in the mix.
However, in the process, Trump appears to be losing a number of Republican House members.
The Trump administration is losing conservative House members on efforts to expand background checks for buying firearms, with Freedom Caucus members rejecting the proposals floated by the attorney general.
The idea of expanding background checks to all commercial sales was a no-go for some conservative lawmakers, who felt it would erode the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“We’re continuing to work with the administration to find a solution. That particular proposal isn’t something we’d be in favor of,” Rep. Mark Meadows, former chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told The Washington Times. “If they move forward with that plan the Freedom Caucus would not be in support of it.”
The Freedom Caucus is a bloc of about 30 of the most staunchly conservative Republicans in Congress.
It’s an important warning for the Trump administration to at least consider before proposing any gun control measures. These are people Trump will need to pass just about anything his administration wants. Alienating them may not be the best way to go about business.
Of course, there’s also the flip side, and that’s how Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have argued that they won’t consider any measure without universal background checks. Even the proposal floated earlier this week isn’t going to be enough for them.
Asked if Democrats could back something like Mr. Barr’s idea, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed out that the White House made it clear that Mr. Trump hadn’t signed off on it yet.
She also pointed out that one of the summer’s deadly shootings occurred because of a “straw purchase” — when someone buys a gun for someone who can’t pass the background check — which doesn’t appear be addressed by the proposal.
Of course, straw purchases are already illegal and occur when someone who can pass a background check buys a gun for someone who can’t. I don’t recall that applying to any of the shootings over the summer. The closest example would be Odessa, but that killer purchased a gun from someone who is alleged to have illegally manufactured it for sale. One would have to be deluded to think that a person who illegally makes a gun with the intent to sell it would require a background check.
Then again, look at who we’re talking about here.
However, even if Trump capitulates with Democrats’ demands, he still faces losing support from within his own party. The Freedom Caucus may not represent all of the GOP by any stretch, but that loss of support will likely cool enthusiasm for Trump’s reelection bid. It’ll also make it harder for him to pass legislation should he win his election and his party retake the House.
It’s something he needs to consider moving forward.