Recent headlines indicate President Donald Trump is interested in addressing the gun problem in America.
But everything Trump has proposed since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Fla. Wednesday seems to be measures the National Rifle Association (NRA) has already approved, or at least willing to consider.
So, the question is–with the gun lobby calling the shots, will Trump actually be able to enact sensible gun reform, or will he simply allow the gun lobby to continue pulling his strings?
Case in point: According to the White House, Trump is encouraging senators to restart a stalled bill that provides moderate background checks for gun purchases. The NRA supports the bill probably because it does not add any new background check requirements for gun purchases or close current loopholes.
Yesterday we learned the president ordered the justice department (DOJ) to start the process of banning “bump stocks,”also called “slide fire” devices, that “bump” a semi-automatic weapon’s trigger to increase its firing rate, essentially converting it to an automatic weapon.
In a statement made after the October Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was able to murder 59 people and injure 241 because of modifications he made to his firearms, NRA executive vice president and chief executive Wayne LaPierre said:
“In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved…The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
In the same statement, the gun lobby spokesman claimed gun control laws would not prevent further attacks, and called on Congress to pass a “right-to-carry reciprocity” law to “allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
In December, Congress complied when the House of Representatives passed 231 to 198 the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, allowing concealed carry permit holders to transport their weapons across state lines.
Many see Trump’s actions as token measures, not actual reform that will successfully curtail or stanch the plague of mass shootings.
Students who witnessed the Parkland shooting are demanding a fresh ban on assault rifles. Their campaign has already made its way to Washington. On Tuesday, students boarded buses for Tallahassee, the state capital to lobby their state legislators.
But those who arrived early watched in horror as lawmakers voted down a ban on military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines.
So nearly one week to the day 17 of their peers were gunned down, Parkland students witnessed their own state lawmakers failing them again.
16-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas junior Lizzie Eaton said the vote was “heartbreaking.”
“We’re not going to stop. We’re going to keep fighting for what we believe in. We’re not going to let this bring us down.”
Don’t forget, the National Rifle Association pumped $30.3 million dollars into Trump’s presidential campaign.
He’s not the only one to be beholden to the gun lobby, but his lion’s share might be responsible for his half-measure.
Image credit: msnbc.com