We already basically knew this but LaPierre blasted out an “important statement” late this afternoon confirming — in vague terms — that the NRA is a “no” on pretty much anything that’s on the table.
Including the Trump-favored Lindsey Graham proposal for a “red-flag law,” though?
Unclear. I think this is deliberately vague so that the NRA can save face later if Trump decides to plow ahead with that bill anyway. “Trump’s not ‘defying’ us because we never specifically opposed a red-flag law!” The statement:
“I’m not inclined to discuss private conversations with President Trump or other key leaders on this issue,” says Wayne LaPierre, CEO and EVP of the National Rifle Association. “But I can confirm that the NRA opposes any legislation that unfairly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. The inconvenient truth is this: the proposals being discussed by many would not have prevented the horrific tragedies in El Paso and Dayton. Worse, they would make millions of law abiding Americans less safe and less able to defend themselves and their loved ones.”
LaPierre continued, “The NRA will work in good faith to pursue real solutions to the epidemic of violence in America. But many proposals are nothing more than ‘soundbite solutions’ – which fail to address the root of the problem, confront criminal behavior, or make our communities safer.”
A red-flag law might have prevented the Dayton shooting, at least. And as of last year, the NRA was surprisingly receptive to red-flag laws. Wait, scratch that. As of last year, the NRA’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, was surprisingly receptive to red-flag laws. As of about six weeks ago Cox is gone, forced out after allegedly leading a palace coup against LaPierre. LaPierre’s strong statement of opposition this afternoon could be read as an indirect rebuke to Cox. “Unlike the squishy insubordinates who tried to oust me,” LaPierre is saying to NRA members, “I’ll be a diehard in opposing new gun regulations.”
Dana Loesch published a piece a few days ago arguing that red-flag laws are a bad idea for reasons of basic due process, replacing “innocent until proven guilty” with “somewhat guilty until proven innocent.” Point taken, counters David French, but the law already allows for certain restraints to be placed on people who’ve demonstrated that they’re capable of behaving dangerously *provided* that they have a chance in court to answer those charges.
Domestic violence orders of protection, restraining orders, and involuntary civil commitment (for people facing an acute mental health crisis) are commonly based on actions or statements that indicate an intent to inflict future harm. While many people who express suicidal or homicidal thoughts don’t kill themselves or others, countless Americans are grateful for processes that require a person to seek mental health treatments, bar them from access to homes or workplaces, or prevent them from maintaining personal contact with threatened individuals…
A good red-flag law is going to require that the petitioner come forward with admissible evidence, require the petitioner to carry a burden of proof, and provide advance notice of the hearing to provide the respondent with an opportunity to contest the claims against him. In emergency situations — where advance notice isn’t possible or prudent — the law should provide the owner with a prompt opportunity to contest the claims against him. And, at all times, the petitioners (those seeking the seizure order) must bear the burden of proof, and respondents should be granted the right of appeal.
There tend to be lots of red flags with mass shooters before they go off too, he noted in a subsequent post. It’d be fascinating to see what red-state senators would do in a true clash of titans involving Trump backing red-flag laws on the one hand and LaPierre and the gun lobby opposing them on the other. Where do self-interested GOP senators fall on that test of loyalty? The question’s probably academic since Trump almost always reverts to doing what his base wants after some early initial flirtation with a centrist gesture. He’s calculated, not unreasonably, that opinion on him is so firm and divided that the key to winning next fall is to mobilize his fans, not try to persuade centrist voters who are probably unpersuadable. He’ll stay on the NRA’s good side — probably.
But you never know with him. There’s a small but nonzero chance before this is over that he ends up trolling LaPierre on Twitter over that mansion he wanted the NRA to buy for him.
The surreal thing about the gun debate at this moment is that it’s a fait accompli that the left will get its way on *some* basic new regulations eventually. The timetable is unclear: It might happen as early as 2021 or take until 2025 or possibly even 2029. But odds are high that Democrats will regain total control of government over the next decade, and when they do it’s a cinch that universal background checks will pass. An assault-weapons ban is not quite as certain, but also very likely. Expanding background checks is so fantastically popular in polling, in fact, that Schumer might tee it up as the first thing the new Democratic Senate decides to do, knowing and expecting that the Republican minority will filibuster. And when they do, that’ll be his cue to nuke the legislative filibuster once and for all, clearing the way for Democrats to pass the rest of their agenda with a simple majority vote. UBC is a superb issue for that precisely because so many voters on both sides support it. “We cannot let 90 percent of Americans be held hostage by 41 Republican senators,” Schumer would say, “especially on a matter of life and death like gun safety.” And that would buy him a lot of credit with Americans who would otherwise be nervous to see the filibuster go. It’s a matter of when, not if.