Gun Control

South Carolina Governor Rips Student Walkout

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) blasted the national student walkout as a “shameful” attempt by left-wing groups to push their own political agenda, The Hill reports.

Said McMaster: “This is a tricky move, I believe, by a left-wing group, from the information I’ve seen, to use these children as a tool to further their own means. It sounds like a protest to me. It’s not a memorial, it’s certainly not a prayer service, it’s a political statement by a left-wing group and it’s shameful.”

Trump Abandons Brief Gun Control Promise

“President Trump has abandoned his live-on-television promise to work for gun control measures that are opposed by the National Rifle Association, instead bowing to the gun group and embracing its agenda of armed teachers and incremental improvements to the existing background check system,” the New York Times reports.

Said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “To no one’s surprise, the president’s words of support for stronger gun safety laws proved to be hollow. Responding to the murder of 17 students and educators by endorsing the gun lobby’s platform is a shameful abdication of the president’s responsibility to lead. Shame on you, Mr. President.”

Trump Backs Off Plan to Raise Age to Purchase Guns

“The White House on Sunday vowed to help provide ‘rigorous firearms training’ to some schoolteachers and formally endorsed a bill to tighten the federal background checks system, but it backed off President Trump’s earlier call to raise the minimum age to purchase some guns to 21 years old from 18 years old” the Washington Post reports.

“Responding directly to last month’s gun massacre at a Florida high school, the administration rolled out several policy proposals that focus largely on mental health and school safety initiatives. The idea of arming some teachers has been controversial and has drawn sharp opposition from the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers lobby, among other groups. Many of the student survivors have urged Washington to toughen restrictions on gun purchases, but such measures are fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association, and the Trump plan does not include substantial changes to gun laws.”

Florida Governor Signs Gun Control Law

Washington Post: “Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who has an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, defied the powerful group by signing the bipartisan legislation. The bill would impose a three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns and raise the minimum age for purchasing those weapons to 21. It also would create a program to train and arm school employees.”

Quote of the Day

“The NRA today is a far cry from the NRA that in 1999 said that teachers shouldn’t carry weapons in schools. Or in the 90’s said we should have universal background checks. They have in essence become a terrorist organization.”

— Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), quoted by WTIC-TV.

Trump’s Gun Proposal Scaled Way Back

“Sources inside the White House told CNN that the White House’s legislative priorities on guns are also expected to be far narrower than Trump has laid out during the listening session and likely won’t include a plan to raise the minimum age to purchase certain firearms from 18 to 21.”

“As of now, the plan includes a grant program to help protect schools during a shooting and an endorsement of the ‘Fix NICS’ bill, a proposal from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) that would improve reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”

Georgia Republicans Escalate Feud with Delta Airlines

“As companies across America take a stand on guns after the Florida school massacre, Delta Air Lines withstood swift political retribution in its home state of Georgia for cutting ties with the National Rifle Association,” ABC News reports.

“Ignoring warnings that the state’s business-friendly image could be tarnished, Republicans in the state legislature voted Thursday to kill a tax break that would have saved Delta millions of dollars in sales tax on jet fuel. The proposal wasn’t controversial until Delta announced last weekend it would no longer offer discounted fares to NRA members.”

Meanwhile, CBS News quoted Delta CEO Edward Bastian, who is not backing down: “Our values are not for sale.”

How a Russian Politician Cultivated the NRA

“A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association, and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain access deeper into American politics,” NPR reports.

“Russian politician Alexander Torshin claimed his ties to the National Rifle Association provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.”

“These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to assist the Trump campaign in 2016.”

Trump Comments Show Disdain for the Rule of Law

James Hohmann: “Whatever your view of Second Amendment jurisprudence, Trump’s flippant comments showed a startling indifference for foundational rights that are enumerated in the Fourth, Fifth and 14th amendments. The legal concept of due process is as old as the Magna Carta.”

“It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to say that some Republican members of Congress would have called for Barack Obama’s impeachment if he had ever called for taking people’s guns away without due process. It’s certainly a more extreme statement than Obama’s 2008 claim that people in rural areas weren’t voting for him because they ‘cling’ to guns and religion. Even a decade later, Obama hasn’t lived that down. Republicans routinely cite it in their stump speeches.”

“But only one Republican member of Congress appears to have sent out a press release objecting to Trump’s comments.”

Trump Says He Supports Confiscating Guns

President Trump voiced support for confiscating guns from certain dangerous individuals, even if it violates due process rights, The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “I like taking the guns early like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time. Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

Gun Control Push Collides with Political Reality

“Here’s how significant things don’t get done in Washington even in a moment of crisis and opportunity,” the New York Times reports.

“The president throws out a hodgepodge of ideas but refuses to put his full weight behind any of them. Senate Republicans, grappling for an answer that responds to public clamor but doesn’t alienate their conservative base, focus on a small fix unlikely to satisfy many people even if it could overcome internal divisions. House Republicans say they will wait to see what the Senate does — though history has shown that can be a very long wait. Democrats push for a broad debate that Republicans want nothing to do with.”

“That’s where Washington stands now on the subject of new gun legislation after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Despite immense public pressure in part from students who escaped the shooting, the outlook for any consequential action remains dim as the president and lawmakers diverge on how best to respond.”

Vox: The Freedom Caucus is fighting to rein in Trump on gun control.

What Arming Teachers Is All About

Eugene Robinson: “The deliberately outrageous idea of arming classroom teachers is nothing more than a distraction, a ploy by the gun lobby to buy time for passions to cool.”

“The National Rifle Association and its vassals in the Republican Party would like you to exhaust your outrage on a possibility that is, from the start, impossible. … ‘Up to States’ means abdicating the federal government’s responsibility and urging state legislatures to waste time and effort debating whether to mandate that instruments of death be introduced to classrooms.”