Donald Trump Goes Off the Deep End on Gun Legislation

A few weeks ago, President Trump held a televised roundtable where he freewheeled about immigration, going way off the conservative script at several points and eventually promising to sign anything Congress sent him that had bipartisan support. Within a few days Trump had done a full U-turn: he issued a specific set of hard-right demands and insisted that he’d only sign a bill that included all of them.

Today, President Trump held a televised roundtable where he freewheeled about gun control, going way off the conservative script at several points and eventually promising that serious progress could be made if Congress just worked in a bipartisan way to send him a bill:

In a remarkable meeting, the president veered wildly from the N.R.A. playbook in front of giddy Democrats and stone-faced Republicans. He called for comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks to weapons purchased at gun shows and on the internet, keep guns from mentally ill people, secure schools and restrict gun sales for some young adults. He even suggested a conversation on an assault weapons ban.

At one point, Mr. Trump suggested that law enforcement authorities should have the power to seize guns from mentally ill people or others who could present a danger without first going to court. “I like taking the guns early,” he said, adding, “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The declarations prompted a frantic series of calls from N.R.A. lobbyists to their allies on Capitol Hill and a statement from the group calling the ideas that Mr. Trump expressed “bad policy.” Republican lawmakers suggested to reporters that they remained opposed to gun control measures.

Guess what? The NRA was right: the president really does want to take away your guns. But it’s President Trump, not President Obama, who wants to do it.

And he wants to do it without bothering about due process. In a single sentence, he’s managed to alienate both conservatives and liberals. There’s literally no one who supports this idea. As for the rest, it’s dead on arrival. Republicans have no interest in any of it, and neither Paul Ryan nor Mitch McConnell is likely to allow anything like Trump’s proposal to come anywhere near a floor vote. Even his base isn’t going to support him on this.

This is the craziest shit we’ve seen from Trump since—oh, a few days ago, I suppose. The problem—aside from Trump being Trump—is that he has no one to consult about what kind of proposal might have a chance to gain Republican support if he pushes hard enough. That’s because there’s probably no one in the White House who supports even the tiniest shred of gun safety legislation. So Trump is on his own, causing chaos for his own party and guaranteeing that nothing will get done.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend