Ex-GOP lawmaker upset gun control unlikely

Ex-GOP lawmaker upset gun control unlikely
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

We would be foolish to assume that the term “Republican” was a synonym for “gun rights supporter.” While the comparison is more apt for Democrats and gun control, even that one isn’t universal.

That said, there tend to be some generalizations one can legitimately make in both those regards.

Yet one ex-congressman who had an “R” after his name seems to be bothered by the fact that gun control is unlikely to pass the GOP-controlled House.

One issue that will most certainly continue to be ignored is gun safety. No doubt the small number of MAGA conservatives who are now exercising complete control of the House will not allow any gun safety legislation to pass as they, along with the NRA, regard the right to own all guns as sacrosanct. As a Republican member of the House, I was told by Kevin McCarthy that the NRA would not support any gun legislation, and as a result, no member dared introduce reforms. We were told by leadership and the NRA that mass shootings were a mental health issue, and no gun safety law would make a difference. This was frustrating as 1,149 people were wounded or killed in mass shootings during the four years I was in Congress.

There is no doubt that someone who commits a mass shooting has a mental health problem. If identifying and solving an individual’s mental health problem was simple, then maybe the GOP’s answer would suffice. But mental health is complicated and, as a nation, we have not made much progress since John Kennedy decentralized the treatment and care in 1963. So, don’t you think Congress and our state Legislatures should consider all possible solutions to reduce the number of mass shootings? More money for mental health is certainly needed, but why not also try some reasonable gun safety measures? There are a number of ideas that would not compromise our Second Amendment rights and might save lives. Don’t you think our politicians owe it to our elementary students; our seniors walking malls; our spouses shopping for groceries to try something?

Now, let’s break some of this down.

The author, David Trott, represented the 11th district of Michigan in the House for two terms until 2018 when he decided not to run again.

In the first quoted paragraph, he lashes out against “MAGA conservatives.” That’s interesting to me since he endorsed Trump in the 2016 primary. In other words, he was part of how “MAGA conservatives” managed to get a foothold in the GOP in the first place. Arguably, he was one.

Second, why should Republicans support gun control? Because bad things happen?

The pro-gun position is and has always been that gun control doesn’t work; that it doesn’t stop bad people from doing bad things.

So just why would they support gun control in light of that belief?

“Oh, but the NRA won’t let them support it!”

Look, I’m sick of people pretending the NRA is some behemoth that is both extremely well-funded while simultaneously representing no one. It’s incredulous to believe that.

The NRA represents its members and, in many ways, gun owners as a whole. While some in the Second Amendment community aren’t fans of the organization for various reasons, they’re still the big gun in the gun rights community and they’re that for a reason. They have a ton of members who give them money in order to defend their gun rights.

No matter how much money they had, though, if it weren’t for the people they represent, GOP lawmakers could just brush it off and take a gun control stance. At least in theory, wouldn’t groups like Everytown, Giffords, and Brady make more than enough in donations to offset the loss of NRA donations?

So again, just why should Republicans accept that gun control is the only way forward?

Trott wraps up the second paragraph quoted by saying, “Don’t you think our politicians owe it to our elementary students; our seniors walking malls; our spouses shopping for groceries to try something?”

Wanting to try something is fine, in and of itself. The problem we have here is that what Trott is expecting us to “try” is something that not just infringes on our right to keep and bear arms, but something that doesn’t even work.

Frankly, it’s probably best that Trott is out of office, because with Republicans like him, who needs Democrats?