For one of his last rallies before Election Day, Donald Trump stood up on a stage in Sterling Hills, Michigan where he was embraced by aging rocker and National Rifle Association (NRA) Board Member Ted Nugent. The obnoxious Motor City Madman was a logical choice for Trump, as not only did the NRA build its power around the very coalition Trump embraced as his own—the aging, dispossessed white working-class man—but the NRA invested $14 million in Trump’s victory. This was more than any pro-Trump SuperPAC spent, and you can be sure they are expecting something in return.
So what can we expect from a President Trump fully supported by the NRA? Let’s start with the group’s pet project of a long time now (defeated a few times in Congress), passing something called Concealed Carry Reciprocity (CCR).
CCR is legislation that would lower the standards of every state’s concealed carry law to the lowest common denominator. In other words, you gain your ability to carry a concealed carry license in the newly empowered gun paradise of Missouri, which due to recent legislation doesn’t seem to require much beyond breathing to acquire one. But then you move to New York, or Connecticut or California, states with much more stringent—dare I say common sense—laws requiring background checks and maybe even a stated need to carry said firearm on your person. Not to worry. Under CCR, you’re carrying in your new state, even though you never had follow any of its regulations in order to obtain your permit.
The NRA erroneously compares this to driver’s licenses. I debated NRA Lobbyist Chris Cox in the pages of The Daily Caller on this issue a few years back. So it is probably useful to include a bit of my response to his incredibly dishonest piece:
Is the NRA now comparing a concealed carry permit to owning and driving a car, where each individual is required to possess a license and register their vehicle? So is Mr. Cox’s position that we should create a registry of each person who carries loaded, concealed firearms, so gun regulations will work similarly to the laws governing the owning and driving of automobiles?
To the substance of his point, the police are able to verify the status of one’s driver’s license through a national database. With concealed carry permits, there is no such licensing database—and Mr. Cox assures us there are no plans to create one. Some states don’t even keep accurate records of who’s allowed to carry a concealed weapon—much less feed them into a national database—and others destroy these documents.
Also on the NRA wish list, shared with me by Ladd Everett, longtime gun safety activist and director of the organization One Pulse (started by George Takei after the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando), are “more restrictive riders on [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives] ATF appropriations bills, such as the frequency with which they can make unannounced visits to suspected dirty firearms dealers or even their ability to revoke their licenses.” The NRA for a long time has said it is for stronger enforcement of gun laws on the books, while doing everything in its power, including threatening and hamstringing the ATF via legislation so that it can’t enforce the laws on our books. We should expect that effort to get only more intense.
Additionally, Trump has said he would like to eliminate Gun Free School Zones nationally. All this would seem to require is legislation and someone with little enough self-regard to propose such a bill. Well, they control both houses of Congress, and for the latter part of the equation may I introduce you to Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas?
All this will occur even as gun safety measures were overwhelmingly successful on ballots in Nevada, California and Washington state on Tuesday. Only in Maine did a gun-safety measure fail, where it was so close it was subject to a recount. In nearby New Hampshire, the top target of the gun-safety movement, Senator Kelly Ayotte, was one of only two incumbent Republican Senators to lose her seat.
Yet none of this will matter as President Trump takes office on January 20 with the NRA at his side. Only the dedication of champions of gun safety among elected officials like Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut and the grassroots will truly stop what Trump and his friends with guns have in story for this country.