A lot of us have been more than a little uneasy over hints that President Trump may be succumbing to the “do something” impulse in response to recent shootings in El Paso, Dayton, and Odessa-Midland. This is always the worst reason to do anything. There is no conceivable gun regulation, short of mandatory confiscation, that would have prevented any to those shootings. The weakness of the background check and, by inference, red flag laws was demonstrated in Odessa-Midland where the shooter was barred from firearm ownership over mental health issues and was able to purchase one from a criminal. It would seem that the unifying theory of criminal behavior, that is, that criminals commit crimes, was in full force.
Nevertheless, Senate Democrats coming up with three new gun control proposals and Mitch McConnell dumping the decision on how to proceed directly in Trump’s lap gave me the queasy feeling that Trump was about to try to trade away sure base votes for the chimera of pleasing suburban women (we’ve been trying to do that since George H. W. Bush and “soccer moms” and how’s it working out for us?).
That seemed to be about to happen today.
The White House and Department of Justice (DOJ) have met with multiple Republican senators and congressmen to shop legislation on expanding background checks consistent with the Manchin-Toomey bill, sources familiar with the effort told the Daily Caller.
The Daily Caller obtained a copy of an idea sheet circulating among Republican members, which indicates that the legislation in question would expand background checks to include all commercially advertised unlicensed sales.
Here’s the whole thing.
This bill seems to have effectively shut down all private, non-family sales of firearms unless a background check was accomplished…this is the Holy Grail of closing the “gun show loophole” the left has been caterwauling about for years. Despite the language of the underlying Manchin-Toomey bill, this clearly opens the way for a national gun registry and what that will ultimately mean.
When the White House was asked they disavowed that this was the plan
An update from the White House: Hogan Gidley tells me that just because WH legislative director Eric Ueland is among those pushing this on the Hill, it does NOT mean Trump himself has signed off on it. "Not even close." https://t.co/BF7cGDdzqA
— Elaina Plott (@elainaplott) September 18, 2019
More distancing from Hogan Gidley: “That is not a White House document, and any suggestion to contrary is completely false.” https://t.co/L9fU7zDPux
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) September 18, 2019
And, for whatever reason, it appears Manchin and Toomey aren’t on board with the White House talking paper
According to a source familiar with the meetings, Barr also met with Senators Manchin and Toomey to discuss the White House's ideas for a gun package. Source says the reception was "frosty." As of now, the gun package rollout has been delayed at least past this Friday. https://t.co/BipP3Dw7px
— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) September 18, 2019
And the NRA is about to go nuts
“This is a non-starter with the @NRA and our 5M members because it burdens law-abiding gun owners while ignoring what actually matters: fixing the broken mental health system and the prosecution of violent criminals.” –Jason Ouimet, @NRAILA's exec director https://t.co/8gF0XUYdln
— NRA (@NRA) September 18, 2019
What we’re looking at, it seems, is a trial balloon that didn’t go over all that well
Also worth looking at the fact that the meetings were held with the more conservative members of the House and Senate. Seems like they were gauging for reaction and now backtracking when it wasn't well received.
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) September 18, 2019
For right now, this effort seems to be dead. I suspect that once the White House political operation gets a taste of just how negative the reaction among base voters is, that this idea will stay dead. Until the next time when we must DO SOMETHING.