Toomey Will Introduce Legislation on Background Checks

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who once spearheaded an unsuccessful bipartisan agreement to strengthen gun laws, told the Washington Post that “he plans to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that would expand background checks on firearm purchases, giving a jolt to gun-control efforts in the wake of last week’s mass shooting in Florida that killed 17 people and left scores injured.”

Said Toomey: “It does feel like we have a shot at getting a little bit of momentum on background checks. We’re going to take a swing at that and I’m hoping we’ll be able to do it.”

Trump Signs Memo to Create Regulations on Bump Stocks

President Trump said that he signed a memorandum directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft regulations to ban “bump stocks” and other devices that turn semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons, the Washington Post reports.

“The device was used by the shooter who opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas in October, immediately prompting calls for lawmakers to take action and ban such devices. At the time, the White House and the National Rifle Association made clear that they were open to the idea, but no action was taken.”

Big Majority Wants Stricter Gun Laws

A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters support stricter gun laws, 66% to 31%, the highest level of support ever measured by the poll, with 50% to 44% support among gun owners and 62% to 35% support from white voters with no college degree and 58% to 38% support among white men.

In addition, Americans support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons, 67% to 29%, and a mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases, 83% to 14%.

This is stunning: Support for universal background checks is itself almost universal, 97% to 2%, including 97% to 3% among gun owners.

I don’t recall seeing 97% support for anything.

Why Trump Endorsed Romney

Jonathan Swan: “He could either endorse Romney, stay silent, or oppose the man he likes to say ‘choked like a dog’ in the 2012 election. Either of the latter two options would have resulted in cable news blaring “Utah rejects Trump” headlines after an eventual Romney win. Now Trump can claim credit for Romney’s victory, and be on the side of a winner.”

Said a GOP source: “This was totally predictable.  The President who (usually) has good political instincts got ahead of any stories (which press is dying to write) about a Romney victory (primary) being a repudiation of Trump, by endorsing him so now Trump can take credit for win and say it’s because he endorsed!”

A new UtahPolicy.com poll finds Romney leading likely challenger Jenny Wilson 60% to 14%.

General Was Not Consulted on Transgender Ban

Less than 24 hours after President Trump tweeted that “after consultation with my Generals and military experts” he would end transgender military service, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent emails to the country’s top generals saying Trump’s announcement “was unexpected” and that he intended to say he was “not consulted,” BuzzFeed News reports.

New Pennsylvania Map Is Not a Democratic Gerrymander

“Pennsylvania’s new congressional district map, released Monday by the state Supreme Court, is sure to improve Democrats’ electoral outlook in the state. Over the long term, Democrats can expect to occupy one to two additional seats compared with the current map,” according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

“Compared with the current map, the new one could easily be mistaken for a Democratic gerrymander. In reality, it gets much closer to matching the political makeup of Pennsylvania’s electorate,1 which is about evenly divided.”

Gingrich Calls for Arming Teachers

Newt Gingrich told Fox News that the only long-term solution to school shootings is to train teachers and administrators in the use of guns.

Said Gingrich: “I think the only long-term solution, depending on the size of the school, is a minimum of six to eight teachers and administrators who are trained in the use of firearms and have conceal carry permits and are prepared to defend the kids.”

Greitens Adds to His Defense Team

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) “has added a new lawyer to his team amidst investigations surrounding allegations of blackmail during an extramarital affair,” KMOV reports.

“Local attorneys say Garvey’s hiring could signal a shift in Greitens’ strategy to begin to prepare for the possibility of having to defend himself in criminal proceedings.”

The Midterm Battleground

Ron Brownstein: “The clearest opportunity for Democrats is the relatively few remaining Republican-held districts in blue metro areas with large populations of college-educated whites, and in many cases substantial minority and youth populations as well. These are places crowded with voters who tilt toward liberal positions on social issues and recoil from Trump’s volatile persona, particularly the way he talks about race.”

“The next bucket of seats is demographically similar to the red pockets but politically distinct because they are in metro areas that lean much more reliably toward the GOP. I call this group of seats Romneyland because they are filled with voters who resemble Romney demographically and ideologically: professionals and corporate middle managers who want a president who will shrink government and even pursue a center-right social agenda, but also exude professionalism and decorum.”

“The third key test for Democrats is the districts I call ‘blue-collar blues.’ These are the blue-collar, exurban, small town and rural seats in states that generally lean Democratic.”

Don’t Blame Washington

Catherine Rampell: “Dysfunctional Washington refuses to work out its differences to solve problems that matter to Americans.”

“So say pundits and policy activists, perhaps hoping that diffuse criticism, rather than finger-pointing, will yield a government willing to govern.”

“But the problem isn’t ‘Washington.’ It isn’t ‘Congress,’ either. The problem is elected officials from a single political party: the GOP.”