Trump Willing To Talk To NRA About Terror Watch List
WASHINGTON – It was just another long and perplexing day on Capitol Hill as the fight over gun control issues was center stage. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) finally gave up control of the Senate floor early Thursday morning, just shy of 15 hours after Democrats started their filibuster to protest Congress’ inaction on gun control.
“I’ve been so angry that this Congress has mustered absolutely no response to mass shooting after mass shooting,” Murphy said, ending his marathon floor session. “This exercise over the course of the last 14 hours has been in many ways a plea for this body to come together to find answers”.
Though Murphy said he wanted a deal on strengthening background checks and blocking suspected terrorists from buying a guns or explosive — and suggested one was possible — it’s unclear if the move pushed the Senate closer to passing a bipartisan compromise. Instead, Murphy indicated that there is an “understanding” to allow for votes on two Democratic proposals, but acknowledged “there’s no guarantee that those amendments pass.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he is still trying to work with Democrats to see if the two parties could find an agreement on suspected terrorists buying guns but said he’s skeptical of Democrats’ intentions. “We’re trying to find out … whether this is an effort to find a solution and common ground or whether this is just an effort to try to embarrass people,” the Senate’s No. 2 Republican told The Hill Wednesday evening. “I haven’t yet concluded which one it is.”
Meanwhile, while the filibuster was taking place on the Senate floor the Democrats found that they may have an ally on the fight over the bill banning people on the no fly list from getting guns. “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee tweeted Wednesday.
I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
Chris W. Cox, the NRA’s executive director for its Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement that the organization’s leaders are happy to meet with Trump.
“The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed,” Cox said. “The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.”
Cox said the NRA also called for “due process protections” for “law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed.” Trump has portrayed himself as staunchly pro-gun rights throughout his campaign, even claiming that his presumptive general election opponent Hillary Clinton wants to “abolish the 2nd Amendment.”
When asked Wednesday to clarify Trump’s stance on guns, campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, “Mr. Trump has already stated his position on this. He looks forward to what he thinks will be a productive meeting.” Trump, whom the NRA endorsed in May, has previously said during his campaign that he is opposed to any further restrictions on gun rights in the wake of recent mass shootings. Trump in December appeared to think that individuals on the terror watch list were already banned from buying guns.
“If people are on the watch list or people are sick, you have — this is already covered in the legislation we already have George. It’s already fully covered,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview after the San Bernardino terror attack. When Stephanopoulos explained that was not the case under current law, Trump said, “if we have an enemy of state, I don’t want to give him anything.”
Most congressional Republicans oppose the push to pass a measure to ban gun sales to those on the terror watch list, arguing that would violate individuals’ Constitutional right to bear arms. They also maintain that many people are mistakenly added to that list and should not be subject to a broad prohibition.
Video used in this story courtesy of CNN