President Trump spoke to reporters before departing for Joint Base Andrews en route to Puerto Rico to assess hurricane recovery efforts. He suggested he might be open to changing the gun laws in the wake of the tragedy in Las Vegas.
“We have a tragedy,” Trump said in response to a reporter’s question. “We’re going to do — and what happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job.”
And then he added, “we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.” He quickly transitioned back to praising the police in Las Vegas. “But I do have to say how quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle. They’ve done an amazing job,” he said.
What exactly does Trump mean by “talking about gun laws”? It’s hard to say. He vowed on the campaign trail to “totally” protect the Second Amendment. He promised to “swiftly unsign” Obama’s executive actions that expanded background checks and said he would abolish gun-free zones at schools and on military bases. He also suggested he would push for a nationwide “right to carry” law. And right before the election, Trump formed a 64-member Second Amendment advisory coalition that included National Rifle Association board members, pro-gun U.S. representatives, and firearms manufacturers.
But as recently as 2016 Trump had expressed solidarity with Obama’s anti-gun views in the wake of the tragedy in Newton, Mass.:
President Obama spoke for me and every American in his remarks in #Newtown Connecticut.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2012
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday that now was not the time to talk about gun control. When asked about Trump’s quick comments in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, she shot back, “There is a difference between being a candidate and being a president.”
Let’s hope that doesn’t indicate a shift in the president’s position on the Second Amendment. It’s fine to talk about guns in the wake of a tragedy, but the conversation should be aimed at how to better enable Americans to protect themselves in situations where the police cannot.
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