Trump Walks Political Tightrope on Gun Legislation

President Donald Trump raised some eyebrows among Second Amendment advocates recently when, in the wake of shooting massacres in El Paso and Dayton, he told reporters he had "serious discussions" with leaders of both parties in Congress about "meaningful background checks" to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill and "deranged" people. At the same time, the president said he was also speaking to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to make sure their views "can be fully represented and respected."

During his comments to reporters, President Trump also reiterated his strong support for the NRA and for protecting Second Amendment rights. While some in the media worked to play up a growing rift between Trump and the NRA, many gun rights supporters are downplaying the issue. "The NRA has five million members, the president has 100 million supporters," says Alan Korwin with "And what he says and what he does are very often different things---so if he says something to placate the left, let's wait and see what he actually does."

Nevertheless, Korwin joins other Second Amendment advocates in being skeptical of any legislation that expands background checks for gun purchases. "A background check does nothing for the 100 million Americans who already have guns," he tells KTRH. "So are we just trying to stop new psychos with background checks?"

For its part, the NRA remains diplomatic about the entire situation.In a statement, NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre says, "I’m not inclined to discuss private conversations with President Trump or other key leaders on this issue. But I can confirm that the NRA opposes any legislation that unfairly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens."

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