Trump stunned lawmakers from both parties with his gun control remarks, but nobody thinks he'll follow through
President Trump said a lot of jaw-dropping things Wednesday during a meeting with Republican and Democratic lawmakers on ways to curb gun violence: "I like taking the guns early" from people who pose a danger to others or themselves, and police should "take the guns first, go through due process second"; adding an assault rifle ban to an existing bill would make it "very strong, I'd rather have you come down on the strong side instead of the weak side"; "it doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18"; and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is "afraid of the NRA."
"Many people I talked to were still shocked and didn't know what to think hours after the meeting ended," Caitlin Owens reports at Axios. Still, "Senate Republicans immediately dismissed Trump's directive to put together a broader gun package, instead hoping — and assuming — that he'll change his mind and come around to their side of the issue." Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said, "I know you heard the words, I just don't believe in my heart of hearts that's exactly what he meant" about due process. The NRA seethed.
Democrats — remembering that Trump talked big at a similar bipartisan meeting on immigration then threw up roadblocks — are similarly skeptical. "The White House can now launch a lobbying campaign to get universal background checks passed, as the president promised in this meeting, or they can sit and do nothing," said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), adding that he is "not highly confident" Trump will follow through.
Of more than 360 gun-access bills introduced in Congress since the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, only one has become law, Axios says, citing ProPublica data. And this time, Owens adds, "no one really thinks Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or Speaker Paul Ryan will ever bring the kind of legislation Trump endorsed up for a vote."