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'You Fashioned Yourself as a Strong Man': Schumer Appeals to Trump to 'Buck the NRA'

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks at a news conference in the Capitol on Oct. 4, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — Fresh off a month in which President Trump dealt with “Chuck and Nancy” on the debt ceiling and got the Dem leaders’ feedback on DACA and other issues over Chinese food, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) appealed to Trump on the Senate floor today to “show your strength” and independence on gun control.

Visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, Trump was asked whether America has a gun violence problem. “Well, we’re not going to talk about that today,” Trump replied. “We won’t talk about that.”

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told CNN this morning that Trump wanted to focus on visiting with patients and first responders. “Now you see there are Republican senators who are talking about the Second Amendment,” she said. “The Second Amendment is a better off principle of our Constitution, just like the First Amendment allows you and I to have this conversation at the moment. That should be protected.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), whose daughter nearly attended the country music festival attacked by a gunman firing from the Mandalay Bay hotel, introduced the Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act on Wednesday to ban the sale or possession of “a trigger crank, a bump-fire device, or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.”

“Automatic weapons have been illegal for more than 30 years, but there’s a loophole in the law that can be exploited to allow killers to fire at rates of between 400 and 800 rounds per minute,” Feinstein said. “The only reason to fire so many rounds so fast is to kill large numbers of people.”

Conway accused Dems of “beating, thumping their chests after the tragedies” and not talking about bump stocks until now.

“So why has Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren now talked bump stocks?” she said. “…I want the high house — high horse calvary [sic] here to have some introspection and show some respect for these people.”

Conway noted “a number of Republican senators have said they will take a look at this — all the while, them saying they are for the Second Amendment, many of them are gun owners and sportsmen themselves.”

On the Senate floor, Schumer brushed off those saying it’s too soon after the Sunday night massacre to inject the politics of gun control.

“I am sure that the families of the loved ones who were lost would agree with me, that it is appropriate and important and necessary,” he said. “Politics is where we are supposed to come together and debate the great problems of our time in order to find solutions to them. Politics is how we’re supposed to make our country a better, safer, more prosperous place to live. And there is no more appropriate time than now to talk about the issue of gun violence.”

For Trump, Schumer argued, “there is a huge opportunity that he missed to lead this nation in a reasonable, moderate debate on gun safety.”

“President Trump, are you going to wait to hear what the NRA says first? Are you going to wait for the NRA to give you the green light?” he asked. “You ran your campaign saying you were beholden to no one. You fashioned yourself as a strong man. Well, are you going to show that you are not beholden to anyone now? Are you going to show your strength now? Are you going to be the first Republican president in a generation to buck the NRA?”

Schumer urged Trump to “come out and say that you support and would sign a law to ban bump stocks,” abandon efforts to deregulate silencers and oppose concealed carry reciprocity.

“My police officers in Times Square don’t want to let someone who has had no check, who might have a mental derangement like Paddock, come to Times Square and they can’t do anything about it. That’s what that law would do,” he said. “Any other heavily populated place, downtowns of many of our big cities, and even medium-sized cities. Disneyworld. Baseball game. Football stadium. If this concealed carry reciprocity passed, crazy people could carry weapons concealed into any football stadium in America, and the police couldn’t check on them. Couldn’t see if they had a gun.”

In his own floor remarks this morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) focused on tax reform.

“We know that our Democratic friends are under immense pressure from the hard left to oppose everything this president touches, but I hope they can resist that pressure and do what they know is right — after all, shouldn’t we all support cutting middle-class taxes, helping small businesses, and bringing jobs and investments back to the United States?” McConnell said.