Action on gun-control legislation has stalled in Congress as Republican leaders try to get some sense of what President Donald Trump might support. We have a better idea. Rather than trying to decipher signals from a president who changes his mind by the hour, lawmakers should listen to the public they are elected to represent. Its message in the aftermath of last month’s fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has been clear: It’s time to end the decades-long stalemate on gun control and enact laws to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands.
A number of bipartisan bills have been introduced, including to bolster the national system of background checks, but debate was slowed after Trump’s shifting stances last week created confusion.
At various points, Trump embraced arming teachers, strengthening background checks, raising the minimum age for gun purchases and forgoing due process to seize weapons from mentally disturbed people. After Trump met privately with the National Rifle Association - and tweeted how “Good (Great)” it went - the White House hedged support on universal background checks and the minimum age. “I think the president is trying to have it both ways,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said.
Murphy is among the co-sponsors, along with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, of a bill that would bring improvements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill, which also enjoys bipartisan support in the House, was introduced after last year’s mass shooting in a rural Texas church showed breakdowns in information being fed to the system.
It is time for Congress to act on these most modest of reforms - and to tackle more ambitious and needed changes.
If Congress continues to ignore the public’s clamor for reasonable gun-control legislation, voters should use the upcoming midterm elections to reiterate the message.
The Washington Post