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Freddy Gray Politics

The unstoppable gun reform lobby

February 27, 2018

9:55 AM

27 February 2018

9:55 AM

He did not address how he might respond to the inevitable debate that will now consume America over the legality of assault weapons. Again, here he differs from Obama, who for instance used his speech in the wake of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon to make an appeal for what he called ‘common-sense gun legislation’. The irony, however, is that whereas Obama consistently fell short in his attempts to ban what he called ‘weapons of war’ and establish tighter legal controls of who can buy guns, Donald Trump might now succeed. The 45th president has so far flip-flopped on the banning of assault weapons – as he has on other culture-war issues such as abortion and gay marriage. In 2000, he said, ‘I support the ban on assault weapons.’ In 2016, he said, ‘I do not support the ban on assault weapons.’ Since emerging as a serious presidential candidate, he has been eager to woo the NRA and put himself firmly on the side of gun enthusiasts. He’s been solidly endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA). But whereas Americans on the right tended to think that Obama was determined to take their weapons away from them, and would therefore interpret all his attempts at reform as a repudiation of Second Amendment rights, Trump is trusted by gun enthusiasts – and therefore has more wiggle room. Whether he takes it remains to be seen. His speech offered no clues.


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