President Trump reportedly faced an unfamiliar critic this week after a pair of tragedies over the weekend once again sparked the polarizing gun control debate in America.
According to The Washington Post, National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre told Trump on Tuesday that any moves toward background checks on guns would be mighty unpopular with the president’s voter base.
Trump had broached the topic of background check legislation in the wake of the pair of deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend that left dozens dead and countless more injured.
The president had addressed reporters about the possibility of background checks from the White House lawn prior to visiting the victims of the El Paso and Dayton shootings.
Trump on background checks: “Well, I’m looking to do background checks, I think background checks are important. I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate – sick people. I’m all in favor of it.” https://t.co/97JW3J1SEu pic.twitter.com/Txtf0I4qSi
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) August 7, 2019
“Well, I’m looking to do background checks,” Trump said. “I think background checks are important.”
The president even went so far as to say that he’s “all in favor of it.”
“I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate — sick people,” Trump added. “I’m all in favor of it.”
Any move to restrict the access of purchasing guns for law-abiding American citizens would likely meet ferocious resistance. And as the NRA astutely pointed out to Trump, much of that resistance would likely be from Trump’s voter base.
Trump has long been a vocal supporter of the NRA and even defended them in April after the group had been targeted by Democratic state officials in New York.
The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others. It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, & get back to GREATNESS – FAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2019
“The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others,” Trump said in a late April tweet. “It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, & get back to GREATNESS – FAST!”
The “internal fighting” that Trump referred to has to do with a very public, very ugly power struggle between LaPierre and former NRA president Lt. Col. Oliver North that took place in April.
North, for his part, claimed that he was concerned about various financial improprieties that could negatively impact the group’s nonprofit status.
LaPierre accused North of extortion. LaPierre claimed that North was using these “concerns” to try and oust LaPierre from his position.
North lost the power struggle, ultimately conceding and deciding not to seek a second term as NRA president.
BREAKING: Oliver North says he will not serve a second term as president of the National Rifle Association.
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 27, 2019
Unsurprisingly, the issue of background checks on gun purchasing is a divisive topic, even among the GOP. If Trump is unable to drum up enough support from his own party, it’s hard to see the legislation moving forward.
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