/Republicans start to sour on gun control laws after Trumps reversal

Republicans start to sour on gun control laws after Trumps reversal

Share This

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson

“I don’t anticipate we’re going to pass a federal red flag law,” said Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson. | Cliff Owen/AP Photo

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson is casting major doubt on the prospects of significant gun regulations passing this fall, the latest sign that the effort to pass new firearm laws is starting to falter.

The Wisconsin Republican said that a background checks measure based on the bill written by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and a national “red flag” bill are both unlikely to pass. He was open to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill that would establish a red flag grant program, but said the Senate would need to “attach to those grants very strict guidelines in terms of due process.”

Story Continued Below

“I really don’t see the dynamic having really changed there much,” Johnson said of an effort to strengthen background checks during gun sales, which generally polls at around 90 percent. “I don’t anticipate we’re going to pass a federal red flag law.

“There are a lot of downsides to passing more legislation that doesn’t do anything positive,” Johnson added.

President Donald Trump has emphasized there are already strong background checks on the books this weekend, an apparent reversal from his drive to push his party on tightening background checks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi assailed Trump for the turnabout, with Schumer calling it “heartbreaking.”

They are pushing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take up the House-passed universal background checks bill, which lacks GOP support in the Senate. Johnson said Trump’s most recent comments are just reflecting reality.

“If he’s talking to the same people I’d be talking to, he’d probably be a little bit more careful in terms of saying: ‘This is for sure what’s going to happen,’” Johnson said of background checks.

Still, the president hasn’t ruled out action and a number of Republicans are holding out hope that multiple mass shootings in a short span of time has changed the political dynamic.

“We need to do something to show that we’re doing something rather than just kicking it down the road,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who has spoken to Toomey and believes McConnell is open to putting something on the floor if it can become law.

While a number of Republicans like Braun have expressed some openness to new gun regulations, enhanced background checks will struggle to attract 60 votes in the Senate, where it will need at least 13 GOP supporters. Red flag legislation also divides Republicans, with some already saying they have yet to see anything they would support.

“I’m going to look at everything we looked at — everything,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told reporters last week. “I’m a Second Amendment supporter. I’m a member of the NRA. So I’m not … taking away people’s guns.”

Trump could change that dynamic, of course, with a weakened National Rifle Assocation and his iron grip over the party. But historically, he’s shown little appetite to ultimately go against conservatives on guns.

That’s why some Republicans are starting to bet on minimal action, if that.

“All I can really tell you is what I hear in Wisconsin: The debate really hasn’t changed at all,” Johnson told reporters on Tuesday. “I realize the clamor and I realize the polling, but I don’t think that really assesses peoples’ knowledge of what we’re really talking about here.”

Share This
READ ALSO : >>  U.N. Report Implicates Saudi Crown Prince In Killing Of Jamal Khashoggi
Original Source