Donald Trump has done anything but fit into the traditional political mold with his position on guns.
Since the Orlando terrorist attack, the deadliest mass shooting in US history, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has managed to support Democratic gun-control measures while also staking out a gun-rights position too extreme for even the National Rifle Association.
On one hand, Trump has championed the idea of “no fly, no buy” legislation that would bar individuals on the FBI terror watch list from purchasing firearms.
“We have to make sure that people that are terrorists or have even an inclination toward terrorism cannot buy weapons, guns,” Trump said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Gun-rights advocates have argued that if those listed on the terror watch list are kept from buying guns, citizens may be wrongly stripped of their Second Amendment right without due process. There have been numerous cases in which individuals have been wrongly put on the list.
Supporters of legislation proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, however, insist that measures will be put in place to provide quick trials for anyone who believes he or she should be removed from the list.
“It could be that people are on there that shouldn’t be on, you know, et cetera, et cetera,” Trump acknowledged to ABC.
“I’ll talk to them,” the real-estate mogul added. “I understand exactly what they’re saying. You know, a lot of people are on the list that that really maybe shouldn’t be on the list, and you know their rights are being taken away, so I understand that.”
But Trump has not come out in favor of the competing legislation offered by Senate Republicans, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, that is up for a Monday vote as well. Cornyn’s bill has been characterized as a “red herring” by Senate Democrats and gun-control advocates.
“I’m talking to [the NRA] about the whole concept of terror watch lists,” Trump said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Should we take somebody directly off it – if there is a terror watch list and if somebody is on, should they be allowed to buy a gun?”
“Now, we understand there are problems with that, because some people are on the terror watch list that shouldn’t be on,” he continued. “You understand that. And that’s happened. Maybe you can reverse it. And we work very hard to find out. If they can’t get a gun, we work hard and diligently to get them off the list, if they indeed shouldn’t be on the list.”‘
Gun-control advocates aren’t holding out much hope that he can get the NRA to back Feinstein’s legislation.
“If he can get the gun lobby on board with doing the right thing, and not just getting on board with another red herring piece of legislation, great,” Shannon Watts, founder ofMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a branch of Everytown for Gun Safety, told Business Insider. “That said, it’s a little like, you know asking the tobacco lobby to weigh in on cigarette packages.”
- REUTERS/David Becker
But as Trump was making a push for gun control, he managed to simultaneously express a position that the NRA had to disavow as too extreme in the other direction.
Trump told a Texas rally Friday that if people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando “had guns strapped … right to their waist or right to their ankle,” it would have been a “beautiful sight” to see them shoot “the son of a bitch.”
Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA, told “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he didn’t “think you should have firearms where people are drinking.”
“No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms,” Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, told ABC’s “This Week” that same day. “That defies common sense. It also defies the law.”
Trump said in a tweet Monday morning that his position was taken out of context.
“When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns,” he posted, “I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees.”