President Trump continued his surprisingly strong attack on Second Amendment rights and the National Rifle Association yesterday in a joint meeting on gun control with Democrats at the White House. At one point, the president even endorsed the idea of confiscating guns from potential criminals first and worrying about due process later.
“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,” Trump said in an exchange reported by The Hill. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
Vice President Pence quickly corrected the president, saying, “Allow due process so no one’s rights are trampled, but the ability to go to court, obtain an order and then collect not only the firearms but any weapons.”
“Or, Mike, take the firearms first, and then go to court.” Trump responded.
In the televised meeting, President Trump also expressed support for a number of other gun control ideas from expanding background checks to restricting sales to people younger than 21. Most surprisingly, Trump also signaled support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Cal.) bill which would revive the “assault weapons” ban from the 1990s.
The president also cut off at the knees a Republican proposal to enact national reciprocity for concealed carry permits. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), a victim of last year's congressional softball shooting, had proposed the bill that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons across state lines.
“You’ll never get this passed if you add concealed carry to this,” Trump said.
Conservatives would be apoplectic if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton had made Trump's comments. In fact, conservatives would be ready to take up arms – literally – if anyone other than Trump had made the statements. However, the response from the right was muted with many conservatives on social media standing by the president.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was one of the few Republicans to speak out strongly against the president's comments. In the past, Sasse has been a staunch conservative critic of Mr. Trump, but in recent months he has been quiet. That changed yesterday with a strong statement.
“Strong leaders don't automatically agree with the last thing that was said to them,” Sasse said in a brief statement quoted by the Washington Examiner. “We have the Second Amendment and due process of law for a reason. We're not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them.”
Sasse's statement was a breath of fresh air in the overheated gun control debate. But where are the rest of the of the pro-Second Amendment congressmen that Republicans thought they sent to Washington?
Originally published on The Resurgent