One of the more striking observations in Wednesday’s televised strategy session between President Donald Trump and members of Congress was one that many of the news agencies around the country have, for some reason, edited out of the version of the story they’re running locally – but did appear in the New York Times – was that “Gun free zones are proven targets of killers.”
And there was something else that does not appear to have made any reports, which is included in the White House video now on YouTube. It comes at 23 minutes into the conversation.
It was a statement by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in response to the president’s questioning about why someone between the ages of 18 and 20 cannot purchase a handgun but can purchase a semi-auto rifle of the type used in the Florida high school shooting two weeks ago.
Toomey, seated next to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat and Toomey’s co-sponsor of controversial background check legislation defeated a few years ago, explained matter-of-factly that most young adults who own such rifles are law-abiding citizens.
“The vast majority of 18, 19 and 20-year-olds in Pennsylvania who have a rifle or shotgun, they’re not a threat to anyone. They are law abiding citizens. They have that because they want to use it for hunting or target shooting and to deny them their Second amendment rights is not going to make anyone safer.”—Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
While most of the media are focused on what now appears to be a gap widening between Trump and gun rights advocates, the comments by the president and the senator seem almost deliberately swept aside. So-called “mainstream” media are zeroed on Trump’s comment to Toomey about some people being too scared of the National Rifle Association.
Another Trump remark that may get more attention from concealed carry advocates was his prediction that “you’ll never get it passed” when the subject came to national concealed carry reciprocity. Why? Because, according to the president, Senate Democrats including some who were in the room Wednesday, oppose the measure.
Reciprocity, however, is a cornerstone issue with legions of gun owners who supported Trump’s election in 2016 because of his vocal support of the idea. With midterm elections on the horizon, those gun owners have two options: Sit at home or replace some of those anti-gun Senate Democrats with pro-rights Republicans and change the Capitol Hill landscape.
Wednesday’s White House school safety discussion is now being described by some of his faithful on social media as an example of Trump in action, as explained in his book “The Art of the Deal.”
What Trump said about gun free zones being targets is borne out by the number of mass shootings that have occurred in such places, including schools, shopping malls and public other venues where firearms are not permitted.
What Toomey said about the “vast majority” of young adults in Pennsylvania could apply the same age group in any other state.
Some people expect the president to announce school safety recommendations, possibly as soon as today. If there are gun control provisions, those will have to be debated and rise or fall on their merit.
As for concealed carry reciprocity, many gun owners want that debate in the Senate as well, so they can get people on the record, and that’s a place many politicians don’t care to be when they are facing voters in the fall.