WASHINGTON — A Tennessee Democratic congressman said President Trump’s suggestion at a roundtable with lawmakers Wednesday to “take the guns first, go through due process second” was “astonishing” to hear.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) told CNN that when lawmakers were trying to pass No Fly No Buy — which would block people on the no-fly list from purchasing guns — “the Republicans said it gave the people on the suspected terrorist list, it denied them due process.”
“So they’re providing due process for suspected terrorists, and now Trump is not for due process for people for weapons. And that’s not going to go over well at all. It was astonishing to hear him say that,” he said. “But I don’t think he knows what due process is. I think he thinks maybe it’s a beverage, like Mountain Dew.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told Fox News that rights come “from God via nature and government exists to secure and protect our rights,” and “when you say something like, we’ll take the guns first, we’ll grab the guns first and later we’ll have a due process conversation, what that means is government is first and hopefully you have bureaucrats that you trust to decide what rights you have.”
“That’s not how America works. So American citizens have the whole Bill of Rights available to them, and in the cases of people who are deranged or have committed crimes then we do due process and take away certain privileges they have,” he added.
Sasse agreed that in the cases “of people who have mental health problems, we should obviously do something to make sure that they can’t get access to weapons.”
“But that needs to happen via due process, not through some bureaucrat who gets to preordain who gets what First Amendment and Second Amendment rights.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox Business Trump was “saying that sometimes the processes take too long” and was specifically talking about a case such as the Parkland, Fla., shooter, “which we hope is an extreme case.”
“The president told me last night that there are elements of Manchin-Toomey, there are elements of Cornyn-Murphy that he supports. He likes the idea of fix NICS, the background check. He likes the idea that was presented five years ago by senators Manchin and Toomey after the tragedy in Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut,” Conway said. “…Anybody who came here to the White House yesterday and thinks that the session was about gun grabbing or gun control is mistaken and they know it.”
Conway said there are “very specific instances” in which Trump is talking about doing away with due process like “look at what happened in the case of Parkland.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told CNN it was “not necessarily the most articulate way” for Trump to make his point.
“I think we take him literally. He’s always — we all have known that he’s unique in how he says things and I don’t think he’s overly ideological,” Kinzinger said. “…I think when he says let’s take the guns first, my guess is — I didn’t see the whole thing — that he was referring to the issue of how do you keep somebody that has mental health issues that have been reported, how do you keep them from getting a gun?”