Is President Trump changing course — again — on gun control?
Trump met Thursday night with a lobbyist from the National Rifle Association, later describing the meeting as “Good (Great)” in a tweet.
Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
Chris Cox, the NRA lobbyist, posted on Twitter just after 9 p.m. ET that he had met with the president and Vice President Pence. “We all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people,” he tweeted, adding: “POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control.”
I had a great meeting tonight with @realDonaldTrump & @VP. We all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control. #NRA #MAGA
— Chris Cox (@ChrisCoxNRA) March 2, 2018
Trump’s meeting with the gun rights advocacy group came just a day after he held a free-flowing confab with lawmakers Wednesday, in which he put himself on pretty much all sides of the gun debate.
The president told the bipartisan group he liked the idea of “taking the guns early. Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
He also called for hardening schools against attacks and declared himself “a big fan” of the NRA. Then he slammed the NRA’s top legislative priority — an expansion of concealed carry rights — and complimented one of the most outspoken gun-control proponents, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, for having some “very good ideas.”
Trump said he wants a legislative response to the latest mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., that’s “comprehensive” and “beautiful.” And he promised lawmakers they’d be “popular” if they were “very powerful” on an expansion of background checks.
Gun control seems to be an issue with staying power in this election year.
A new Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll indicates “gun control/Second Amendment” (12%) and “school safety” (6%) have vaulted to the top of important issues in advance of the upcoming congressional elections. The combined percentage from these two answers moves the spotlight squarely to a new worry in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.