Now That Trump And The NRA Are Partners, Who Helps Whom? Maybe Neither.

Back in May when the NRA endorsed Trump at their annual meeting, I said I wasn’t sure that either side gained that much by an endorsement that in the past never occurred until nearly the end of the Presidential campaign.  And while I don’t like to indulge in Trump-like ‘I told you so’s,’ thanks to the terrible night in Orlando, it’s beginning to look like the Trump-NRA partnership may be more of a millstone than a milestone for both sides.

As soon as it came out that the shooter had not only pledged fealty to ISIS during the attack, but had been interviewed by the FBI, Trump mounted his ‘we have to fix this, we have to fix that’ horse and basically supported denying terror ‘suspects,’ no matter how suspect, access to guns.

trump2           Taking away gun access to anyone other than a convicted felon, habitual drug user, crazy person or fugitive (in other words, the ‘prohibited’ categories used to deny 4473 transactions by the FBI,) is an absolute no-no when it comes to Gun-nut Nation, in particular the NRA.  The closest the NRA will come to any degree of compromise on this issue is their support of a bill introduced by an NRA Senatorial puppet, John Cornyn (R-TX), which basically says that someone who is on the Terror Watch List must wait 3 days to get a gun, during which time either a decision is made to deny the transfer or the gun walks out of the store.

This is the same procedure which is currently in place with FBI-NICS when a gun purchaser may or may not actually fall into a 4473 ‘prohibited category’ and the FBI needs additional time to decide which way the decision should go.  And the overwhelming number of these three-day delays are ultimately approved simply because the information needed by the FBI to make a final determination simply isn’t there. Cornyn’s bill mandates a three-day delay window, but since it really doesn’t create any kind of mechanism for figuring out whether someone on the No-Fly List or Terrorist Watch List might be a threat if he could get a gun, the bill doesn’t change anything at all.  Which is why the NRA supports the measure, because they love gun-control laws that don’t do anything to control firearms access at all.

Now here comes Trump, who no matter what issues he grabs, immediately becomes the veritable bull in a china shop, and invariably hurts himself more than he helps.  He attacked a Federal judge whose parents, not him, were from Mexico, and his support among Hispanics, if he had any support, disappeared.  He told LGBT that he was their ‘best friend,’ because if they can scratch up the $100,000 membership fee they can join his Palm Beach club.  And what he got for that bit of comic relief was a ringing denunciation from the Christian Rght, whose support for Street Thug stands right now at 62%, and by the way, these same voters supported Romney to the tune of 79%.

But running alongside their newly endorsed candidate is even more problematic for the NRA.  They don’t have to worry about the liberals, they’ll thrive on that until the cows come home.  It’s the chickens that could come home to roost from the Right if Fairfax appears to be bending, because it wouldn’t be the first time that other gun-owning organizations challenged the NRA.

Back in 2014, a bunch of Gun Crazies walked into a Chili’s with their ARs and AKs, the NRA chastised them for their ‘weird’ behavior, and then quickly issued an apology when the emails and phone calls started rolling in. Take a look at comments made by Larry Pratt, who happens to head something called Gun Owners of America, who has also tangled with the NRA. He makes Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox sound absolutely benign.

So we’ll soon find out if the NRA endorsement of Trump ends up as a blessing or a curse.


Here Comes National Concealed-Carry Again And Both Sides Are Looking Forward To The Fight.

Once again there appears to be a well-orchestrated push in Washington for a national concealed-carry law, which is actually new wine in old bottles since it was initially introduced by Senator Larry Craig during the Clinton years. Craig was a Board member of the NRA, a position which he eventually relinquished when he was arrested in an airport men’s room for trying (he claimed) to look for his keys after they fell on the floor.  But Craig’s legacy as the NRA champion was then assumed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) who has once again introduced the national CCW bill and this time believes he will get it to President Obama’s desk.  The bill failed by 3 votes in 2013 and no doubt the Bomber will veto the bill if it slides into the Oval office this time around. But maybe we’re only two years away from a Republican sitting in the White House and maybe the ol’ Wild West will finally become law of the land.

ccwThe problem for the pro-gun supporters of this legislation is that they need 7 votes which they can gain if they can pick up some votes from Democrats like Joe Manchin, who voted for the bill in 2013. The opponents of the measure are also hard at work and are aiming most of their fire at Republicans like Pat Toomey who voted for expanded background checks after Sandy Hook.  No doubt representatives of both the NRA and the Bloomberg machine are letting Senators on both sides know that they will be scoring the votes, and no doubt some Senators, regardless of their personal feelings on the issue, will be swayed by whether their vote will help or hurt them when they face the voters in 2016.

I think the argument about national CCW, while it appears to be a hot-button issue on both sides, is really much ado about very little, notwithstanding the lengthy commentary by Gail Collins in today’s New York Times. Gail makes the point that legal and training requirements for CCW vary significantly from state to state. Therefore, walking around with a bulge in your pocket which doesn’t mean you were glad to see her might require a completely different level of proficiency or legal fitness in New York than what is required in Alabama or Tennessee.  Unfortunately Gail then  goes off the deep end when she evokes the image of people “roaming the streets waving out-of-state gun permits,” but she’s right-on in assuming that this type of legislative battle can do wonders for increasing the membership rolls of the NRA.

The reason I think national CCW issue is overblown is that nobody has ever attempted to figure out whether the issuance of more concealed-carry permits means that more people are actually walking around armed.  Supporters of the bill claim that arming civilians is an important measure in the fight against violent crime.  But studies that link crime decline to increased CCW are so full of holes that anyone who really believes that armed civilians make the country safer can be excused for also believing that Martians landed in Area  51.  Opponents of the bill raise the spectre of an increase in gun homicides by people with CCW who, like the murderous dope in Chapel Hill, shot and killed three Muslim-American students with a legally-carried gun.  But the Violence Policy Center’s study of CCW-legal shootings notwithstanding, the  number of intentional, fatal gun injuries committed by someone with a concealed-carry license is still, statistically speaking, a rare event.

If nothing else, a national CCW law would require the development of a nationwide network that would allow law enforcement in one state to check the validity of CCW permits issued somewhere else.  Stop to think about it, wouldn’t such a system be akin to registering everyone with CCW, hence nothing more than another form of national gun control?  I don’t notice the Constitutional Carry gang worrying about that one at all.

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