Trump's Nixon-to-China moment on guns

Fact: President Trump is amenable to changes in our gun laws. His White House has banned bump stocks, a device which allowed the Las Vegas shooter to convert a semi-automatic gun into an even more deadly weapon, and passed the Fix Nics law, which strengthened background checks.

Trump recently called for expanded background checks and backed so-called “red flag” laws, which would give law enforcement authorities an opportunity to respond when an individual exhibits dangerous tendencies. These are popular measures.

He should go further. Fully automatic guns are illegal, but the ban on semi-automatics (of the kind used in the Orlando shootings) and related ammunition expired in 2004. That restriction should be revived; nobody needs what many call an assault rifle to hunt game or shoot clay pigeons. At the least, the size of the magazines should be limited, which could lessen the carnage of mass shootings.

Unhappily, as with immigration, Democrats will not want to work with the Trump administration to enact sensible laws that might staunch the bloodshed. It is much more attractive politically to use gun violence as a cudgel. In fairness, many Republicans will not go there either. The National Rifle Association does indeed have a large checkbook, and wields it to stave off tougher gun laws.