Right now, President Donald Trump has a lot going on. The Democrats in the House of Representatives are pushing hard to impeach him, for one thing. While most of the testimony I’ve heard so far is less than convincing, it’s still something that will wear on the president as time goes on. After all, the office of the President of the United States is stressful enough as it is. Throw something like this into the mix and it gets worse.
Luckily, though, The Hill has Trump’s back.
No, seriously. They apparently figure they can help the president get a much-needed win…by selling out gun owners.
Recent press reports speculate that President Trump’s advisors are urging him to abandon gun reform efforts, fearing it could splinter Republican support needed for his reelection bid and his impeachment battle.
Although seemingly counterintuitive, now is the perfect time to pass a federal red flag law. Doing so would demonstrate the President’s resolve to lead in the face of Democratic opposition on multiple fronts, and prove the White House is focused on the nation’s business despite the impeachment proceedings. And it would oblige gun safety advocates to laud the President.
The political cost of passing a federal red flag law may be lower than expected. These laws (also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders) appear to have bipartisan appeal, having been passed in red states as well as blue — 17 states and the District of Columbia to date.
For the record, the red states in question are Indiana and Florida. That’s it. Just two out of the 17 states were actual red states, and Florida did so as a knee-jerk reaction to a school shooting, a reaction that proved costly to many Republicans running for reelection afterward.
No other red state has passed such a measure, and there’s a reason for that. Namely, the measure is extremely controversial and, frankly, unneeded. As we’ve outlined before, mass shootings have been stopped without the need for a red flag law. Further, there’s little evidence that it prevents suicides, another justification presented for such laws.
Red flag laws don’t actually work. That alone would be enough reason to oppose the law, but then there’s the fact that it’s disarming people without due process that also raises an issue.
Frankly, there are a ton of reasons for the president to have backed off here.
But so far, the justification has just been that it won’t be as costly as Trump might think. Are there any arguments presenting it as a political win for him?
The author, Sarah C. Peck of #UnitedOnGuns, does go on to try and present some rudimentary evidence on why red flag laws are a good idea, but those arguments are all refuted above. She then follows with this:
For a president who takes pride in thinking for himself, bucking his advisors’ advice on this issue makes perfect sense. He is unlikely to lose committed supporters, and he might broaden support beyond his base.
Signaling that he will sign such a law if it is put before him will disrupt the negative news cycle. Signing it will make history. The last president to achieve gun control legislation of this magnitude was Ronald Reagan. That translates into a much-needed win for President Trump and for the nation.
Frankly, she hasn’t been paying attention to the last three years if she thinks Trump is going to be motivated by ending the negative news cycle. Especially since there’s little reason it would. I’m not a particular fan of the man, but if Trump were to come out with a cure for cancer, I’m pretty sure the media would spin it in some way that would paint him in a negative light. Him backing red flag laws in any way won’t help him.
But it will hurt him.
You see, while Peck argues Trump wouldn’t lose committed supporters, he can potentially lose gun right supporters, many of whom are already skeptical of the president following the bump stock ban. Him pushing a red flag law has the potential to go too far for many in the gun rights camp, causing them to either vote third party or just stay home next November.
That’s just an inescapable fact, and one Trump isn’t likely to forget. After all, he’s a polarizing figure and we all know it. While Peck argues his committed followers won’t abandon him, it should also be pointed out that such a measure won’t garner him any new supporters either. So he’ll likely lose some in the gun rights crowd and no pick up any new supporters because of it?
Please, tell me again how this is a good idea?
Of course, it’s really nothing more than yet another attempt to tell the president that he can garner a big win by giving the opposition exactly what they want. It would be like a football team declaring victory after getting their butts handed to them 29-3.
Then again, Peck is part of that opposition, so I guess it’s more like a player for the other team trying to convince that team that allowing their opponents to rack up 29 points is really a win.
Surely she can’t think anyone’s that stupid.