Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
When President Donald Trump met with lawmakers at the end of February to discuss “school and community safety,” he chided his fellow Republicans for being “afraid” of the National Rifle Association.
Now that Trump has revealed his proposal for addressing gun violence in schools, it’s clear that he’s the one who is afraid.
Trump has backed off from the idea of allowing police to confiscate guns from dangerous people, and he’s no longer enthusiastic about raising the minimum age for buying assault weapons to 21. And Trump is certainly no longer supporting an assault weapons ban, which he’d previously shown openness about.
Trump made a weak effort to defend his changed positions on Twitter.
“On 18 to 21 Age Limits, watching court cases and rulings before acting,” he tweeted. “States are making this decision. Things are moving rapidly on this, but not much political support (to put it mildly).”
Florida just passed a bill raising the age limit on buying guns, and the NRA is fighting it in court. There’s no reason Trump couldn’t also endorse a federal age limit bill, regardless of the court battles.
According to Rasmussen, there is substantial support for the idea. The polling firm found that 67 percent of Americans support raising the minimum age for gun purchases, while only 26 percent oppose. But it’s exactly these dynamics—passionate minority opposition to broadly popular measures—that the NRA has long exploited to prevent gun control.
It’s no surprise that Trump has abandoned any semblance of courage on the gun issue. The day after his meeting with lawmakers, he met with the NRA.
Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.