Friday, March 2, 2018
Stand with Us, Mr. President, the Second Amendment Is Our Defense Against Tyranny
LET US BE CLEAR -- THE SECOND AMENDMENT MATTERS. A lot. • • • THE CONSTITUTION IS NOT A MACHO CHIP. TheHill reported on Thursday that : "House conservatives say they are baffled by President Trump’s recent support for a string of Democratic-backed gun control ideas, with some lawmakers even questioning how committed he is to protecting the Second Amendment. 'I don’t know how he came unmoored,' said libertarian Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), one of the staunchest defenders of gun rights in Congress.' " Massie said : "I was surprised that he basically just incorporated the whole wish list of gun control into his proposed omnibus gun control bill....President Trump can do more damage than President Obama did to the Second Amendment with the bully pulpit, because Republicans instinctively rejected anything Obama put forward.” • The mix of House Republican shock, frustration and disappointment when Trump endorsed a Democratic “wish list” of gun control proposals during a meeting on Wednesday at the White House -- including imposing new age limits on gun purchases and taking guns away from dangerous people BEFORE due process procedures -- was echoed throughout America. • TheHill reported that Republicans in both chambers of Congress, and particularly the House, made clear they have little interest in adopting what Preesident Trump called a "comprehensive" approach to gun control. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio said : “On a lot of these issues, where we believe that there is an infringement on Second Amendment liberties, we’re going to be opposed to those.” • Jim Jordan is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a band of roughly 30 conservatives, who are watching in shock as Trump has eagerly urged action on gun control following a deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school last month, with student survivors emerging as powerful voices in the politically charged debate. The President's a series of listening sessions on gun violence, including the televised meeting at the White House with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday, just seemed to "unmoor" him even more. During the freewheeling, hourlong session, Trump, according to TheHill, "delighted Democrats and infuriated Republicans when he voiced support for expanded background checks and urged lawmakers to dramatically expand the scope of their legislative response, which GOP leaders had tried to keep as narrow as possible." • • • DUE PROCESS IS NOT A BARGAINING CHIP. For anything. Ever. In the most jaw-dropping moment of the Wednesday meeting, Trump advocated for confiscating guns from individuals deemed dangerous without following due process. Here is exactly what he said : “I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida...to go to court would have taken a long time. Take the guns first, go through due process second.” Hearing that, Vice President Mike Pence tried to push back and put a better face on the President's remarks, saying the proper procedure of securing court orders was essential so "no one's rights are trampled." Trump responded : "Or, Mike, take the firearms first, and then go to court. • Conservatives said they were having a hard time wrapping their heads around that statement. Representative Warren Davidson, an Ohio Republican, who wasn’t watching the meeting live, said his phone was “blowing up” with concerned text messages from constituents asking whether Trump’s comments were real and urging Davidson to “do something" in response. Davidson told TheHill : "When talking with colleagues, that’s the piece that’s getting the most traction." Massie, who heads the congressional Second Amendment caucus, called it Trump’s “most disappointing statement....He broadened the concern beyond the Second Amendment : they can take any piece of your property without due process, if due process is no longer a value he believes in.” • • • THE SECOND AMENDMENT "IS NOT FOR TURNING." As Margaret Thatcher once said about her conservative positions on other issues. But, for President Trump, even trampling on due process wasn’t enough on Wednesday. Trump cut himself off from almost the entire Republican Party when he reiterated his support for raising the age requirement for purchasing assault-style rifles from 18 to 21, an idea fiercely opposed by the NRA and conservatives. In fact, on Thursday Massie said he would seek to scale back age restrictions for guns, not raise new ones, by introducing legislation that would lower the age for buying a handgun from 21 to 18. Under current law, someone must be 18 years old to buy a rifle and 21 years old to buy a handgun. MAssie takes the position that "It’s unconstitutional to completely extinguish the Second Amendment for a category of adults." Then, Trump pronounced on the hot-button debate over the federal criminal background check system for gun purchases. Not only did Trump express support for a far more expansive bill from Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to expand background checks for firearms bought at gun shows and over the internet, he also forcefully rejected the idea of attaching a more narrow background check bill to controversial legislation backed by the NRA that would allow people to carry concealed weapons across state lines. For Jim Jordan : "All that legislation has problems.” In fact, conservatives have major due process concerns with the background check bill, called the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) Act, because they worry it will allow the government to easily take away a person’s Second Amendment rights. They only agreed to vote for Fix NICS after House GOP leaders attached the measure to the concealed carry reciprocity bill and promised not to decouple the two issues. Jordan said he has reminded leadership of their commitment, while Davidson dismissed concerns that GOP leaders would break their promise just because of Trump’s comments. Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier this week he would wait to see what the Senate does on Fix NICS before deciding whether to put it on the floor as a stand-alone bill. But -- and this is a key response to Trump made in McConnell's usual procedural way -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday announced that his chamber would be moving to banking legislation next week, rather than a background check bill. The Senate’s move makes it a real possibility that Republicans will ignore their President’s wishes for a gun vote, and they made clear that it’s their prerogative to do so. Davidson said : “There’s a reason we have separation of powers. I’m not particularly concerned that our House leadership would renege on what they had committed to do.” • • • TRUMP HAS STIRRED UP A HORNET'S NEST. Fox News's Tucker Carlson hit Trump's due process comments on his show Thursday, attacking President Trump for calling for the confiscation of guns without due process as a means of combatting gun violence. Carlson said : "Imagine if Barack Obama had said that? ‘Just ignore due process and confiscating guns.’ Obama would have been denounced as a dictator. Congress would be talking impeachment right now. Someone would be muttering about secession.” Carlson's conclusion was ominous : “If voters wanted that kind of government, they could have voted Democrat and they still have a chance to vote Democrat in the midterms, which he should keep in mind." • The NRA is trying to play down the President's comments. Chris Cox, the top official at the National Rifle Association's lobbying arm (NRA-ILA) tweeted Thursday that he met with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, going on to say the two Republicans would oppose gun control measures proposed by Democrats. Cox tweeted : "I had a great meeting tonight with @realDonaldTrump & @VP. We all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control. #NRA #MAGA." Trump acknowledged the meeting on Twitter, calling it a "good (great)" meeting but offering few details. • The NRA and its lobbying arm have faced massive criticism for the organization's opposition to gun control in the days following last month's shooting after it was reported that the alleged shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, obtained the AR-15 style rifle used in the attack legally. At a controversial CNN town hall held with Parkland survivors -- some of whom accused CNN of planting questions and refusing to let survivors say what they wanted to say -- nevertheless, some survivors challenged NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch while questioning Florida Senator Marco Rubio on his past contributions from such groups. • Trump on Wednesday accused lawmakers of being "afraid" of the NRA, seemingly chastising Republican Senator Pat Toomey for such fears during the nationally televised meeting on gun violence at the White House. Toomey told the President during the meeting : “We didn’t address [age limits on gun purchases] Mr. President." Trump repsonded, chuckling : “You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA. It’s a big issue right now. A lot of people are talking about it. A lot of people are afraid of that issue -- raising the age for that weapon to 21.” • Now, smelling Second Amendment blood on the floor, gun control activists are going after all the possible way to gut it. Real Clear Politics published a Commentary by A. B. Stoddard titled "Indeed, President Trump Should Take On the NRA." A.B. Stoddard is an associate editor and columnist at RealClearPolitics. She appears regularly on Fox's "Special Report With Bret Baier," as well as other shows on FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, and on CNN, where she is held out as a Republican, although her views are lostly East Coast RION positions. Stoddard Friday Commentary on RCP began : "We’ve learned a lot about President Trump this week -- he’s willing to tank the stock market after all; he would run into a gunfight, even without a gun; he wants to execute drug dealers; he’s already hired his campaign manager for a 2020; and he’s not afraid of the National Rifle Association. Trump is not only unintimidated by the most intimidating force on the right, he appears itching to take it on, declaring the group doesn’t 'have power over me.' This is significant, because not only did the NRA spend $30 million to help elect Trump -- triple what it spent to help Mitt Romney in 2012 -- but the organization helped shore up a robust and critical bloc in his unlikely coalition." Stoddard then says : "Good for President Trump -- he should put his money where his boast is, and take on the NRA. Hell, if he’s willing to take on the Republican Party on tariffs and risk a trade war, battling over background checks seems like a no-brainer. The President loves polls, and he knows gun control proposals are surging in popularity. Background checks on all firearm sales is more than 80% popular. So is requiring a person to be age 21 to purchase a gun. Even banning assault-style weapons is polling near 70% support, depending on the survey." Stoddard is careful not to actually cite any surveys, just tossing out numbers to support her anti-NRA position. • • • DEAR READERS, this national nervous breakdown over guns -- when they are clearly not the problem but merely the goal of Progressives -- has perhaps done one very important thing. It has brought the Republican Party to its senses. GOP leaders may whisper in Senate and House cloakrooms about White House feuds and departures, they may wring their hands together about polls that may show a Democrat generic ballot advantage that could point to an electoral defeat in the midterm elections, and they may rightly fight actively over a Deep State Russia probe that is fabricating "collusion" and "obstruction" by President Trump. BUT, the Republican Party has been forced in the past week to stand up for its belief that the Second Amendment means what it says. Representative Davidson wasn’t the only Republican whose phone was “blowing up” with concerned text messages from constituents asking whether Trump’s comments were real and urging Davidson to “do something" in response. Davidson spelled it out : "When talking with colleagues, that’s the piece that’s getting the most traction." • President Trump is a media creation and he clearly appreciates how powerful the moment is -- but instead of standing fast in support of the Second Amendment, he has chosen to support “Comprehensive Background Checks,” age restrictions for gun purchases, and even an assault-weapons ban. That is eye-popping Progressive activism. California Senator Dianne Feinstein recognized it instantly and encouraged Trump at the Wednesday meeting. But, the GOP rejects Trump's rogue position on gun control, and Republicans in Congress are getting an ear full from the GOP grassroots, telling them to get busy and stop the slaughter of the Second Amendment. • As I said in the Febraury 23 blog, President Trump is in over his head. His remarks and suggestions are scattered all over the place, as he reacts in a haze of emotional reaction to a horrific attack, while showing no sense that he has a strategy for dealing with school shootings, which are, after all, the issue in point, not the increased control of firearms in a country that already has more than 20,000 gun control laws on the books at the state and federal levels. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre has warned conservatives that socialists are smearing gun rights advocates and seeking to eliminate their rights : “Socialism is a movement that loves a smear. Racists, misogynists, sexists, xenophobe and more. These are the weapons and vitriol these character assassinations permanently hang on their targets because socialism feeds off manipulated victims.” LaPierre was speaking at the Political Action Conference (CPAC) when he claimed that "European socialists” are taking over the Democrat Party. He also named the “Occupy” movement, Black Lives Matter and Antifa as examples of social groups that he claimed promote “uncivil discourse.” LaPierre’s warning is not hollow. As gun control advocates, Democrat lawmakers and some Republicans, including President Trump, have called for legislation to curb gun violence in the wake of last week's shooting at a Florida high school, the bulk of the Republican Party has cautioned against moving too quickly on legislation as a reaction to the incident. • It cannot be said too often that President Trump is walking a very fine and dangerous constitutional line in trying to be everything to everybody in regard to gun control. Conservatives and Republicans may look the other way about immigration amnesty for Dreamers and try to reason with Trump about trade wars, but the Second Amendment is another matter altogether. It has defeated more Republican and Democrat politicians than any other single issue in the last quarter century. Trump is not immune to its bite. • The Second Amendment is clear -- Americans have the right to bear arms -- and short of an Article Five process to amend the Constitution, the Second Amendment will be supported in some fashion by the Supreme Court, as long as conservatives show their determination to save it. Congress has heard from its constituents. President Trump has been railed against online in social media for his Progressive stance that would abolish the Second Amendment by presidential fiat. The mainstream media is fully aware that Americans will never abolish the Second Amendment voluntarily. • It is now time for the Republican Party leadership to do the job it was elected to do -- save a key part of the Constitution from annihilation by Progressives. The GOP base has found its independent conservative voice over the Second Amendment and due proces, and they are looking to the Republican leadership for help. President Trump may join the fight to save the Constitution, but he cannot prevent the fight. He may now show that he is the conservative defender of the Constitution he has held himself out to be. OR, he may move over to the Progressive Democrat side of the issue and be consigned ot the "dustbin" of conservative Republican history. Republicans ARE conservative. They support the Constitution -- all of it. We "hired" Donald Trump to do the same. If he fails to do this for the Second Amendment -- and we will know this well before the mid-terms -- then we will be forced to look for a new GOP standardbearer. Trump was not the goal in 2016. Saving the Republic was the goal. We know that President Trump stands with us conservatives on so many important issues -- immigration, border control, lower taxes, fewer regulations, a strong defense. But, the Second Amendment is not negotiable. It is the sole defense of a free and independent citizenry ready to ward off would-be tyrants. Do not desert us on this critically important constitutional issue, Mr. President. Stand with us, for the Republic's sake.