Gun control: What happens next?
It’s been nearly a month since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School reignited the national debate on guns, said German Lopez in Vox.com, and “we still have essentially no idea” where President Trump stands. At first, Trump focused on arming teachers, but last week, Trump blindsided gun-rights advocates by calling for expanded background checks and saying the government should be able to seize weapons from anyone who seems mentally unstable. “Take the guns first,” Trump said, “go through due process second.” The very next day, the NRA tweeted that Trump had assured them that he’s still firmly against gun control. On this divisive issue, it will be impossible to push through any federal legislation if the president’s “policy positions are constantly in flux.”
It doesn’t really matter what Trump wants, said Alexander Bolton in TheHill.com. Republican congressional leaders know from experience it’s only a matter of time before Trump loses interest in the issue. “The bottom line is, there is little impetus among Republicans on Capitol Hill to vote on gun-control legislation anytime soon.” Still, Trump’s embrace of gun-control measures was significant, even if it didn’t last, said Margaret Talbot in The New Yorker. “The primitive sensors by which Donald Trump divides the world into winners and losers were telling him that for now, at least, the proponents of unfettered gun rights smell like losers.” Recent polling shows that 88 percent of Americans now support universal background checks, while 68 percent support a ban on assault-style weapons. The politics of guns is shifting.
I wouldn’t be so sure, said David French in NationalReview.com. Liberals are hoping to reverse decades of defeats in the gun-control debate by making gun ownership “culturally toxic.” But it won’t work. The right to self-defense is sacred, and enshrined in our Constitution. “It’s hard to persuade any man or woman to surrender an unalienable right—especially when exercising that right helps preserve the most vital right of all, the right to live.” Check your recent history, said Jack Shafer in Politico.com. Gay marriage also once seemed unthinkable, but the opposition virtually collapsed in a matter of years, unable to resist the cultural tide. Something similar is happening right now with marijuana. Trump sticking his finger in the wind is just one more sign that guns could be next. “Is the implausible on its way to becoming inevitable?”