Trump trashes bipartisan Senate bill as the ‘first step’ to taking away guns — even though he once supported one of its key parts – Yahoo! Voices

Trump speaks during Pennsylvania rally, Mitch McConnell

Former President Donald Trump (L) speaks during Pennsylvania rally on May 6, 2022. Mitch McConnell (R) is pictured on May 3, 2022.Getty Images

  • Trump blasted a bipartisan Senate gun bill, calling it “the first step in the movement to TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY.”

  • But Trump once supported state “red flag” laws that are incentivized in the bill.

  • In fact, nothing in the legislation remotely resembles what Trump is saying.

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday slammed a bipartisan Senate effort to respond to a series of mass shootings, arguing without evidence that the proposal backed by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is the first step to “TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY.”

“The deal on “Gun Control” currently being structured and pushed in the Senate by the Radical Left Democrats, with the help of Mitch McConnell, RINO Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and others, will go down in history as the first step in the movement to TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY. Republicans, be careful what you wish for!!!” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth.

Trump’s opposition to the proposal comes after senators cleared an early hurdle for advancing the gun safety legislation on Tuesday. Fourteen Republicans, including McConnell, voted to advance the bill that includes incentives for more states to pass so-called red flag laws, a provision that closes the “boyfriend loophole” in background checks, and roughly $15 billion in funding for mental health and school security measures.

A spokesperson for McConnell pointed to the top Republican’s defense of his record on protecting law-abiding gun owners. In discussing his support for the bill, McConnell said that Republicans brushed back previous attempts to “take massive bites out of the Second Amendment” and that Democrats “came our way” in advancing the current legislation.

“It does not so much as touch the rights of the overwhelming majority of American gun owners who are law-abiding citizens of sound mind,” McConnell said of the bill on the Senate floor on Wednesday. “I’ve spent my career, supporting, defending, and expanding law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights: the right to bear arms, the right to defend oneself and one’s family is a core civil liberty.”

A spokesperson for Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican who led his party’s negotiations over the plan, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The former president’s statement also underlines the vast and often abrupt changes Trump has made to his views on guns throughout his public life and even his presidency. After deadly shootings, he expressed an openness to expanded federal background checks, an age limit to buy AR-15s and similar firearms, and even privately mused about reining in so-called assault-style weapons.

“What are we going to do about assault rifles?” Trump reportedly asked White House aides in 2019 after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, according to The New York Times.

Most Republicans have strongly opposed a renewed assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004. In 2000, Trump, who was once a registered Democrat, called for such an action in his book “The America We Deserve.”

Trump once even supported the “red flag” provisions that are a key piece of this legislation.

“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken by rapid due process,” Trump said in 2019. “That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”

The bipartisan bill would not create a federal red flag law, as some Democrats once hoped, rather it would simply create grants to encourage officials to join the 19 states and the District of Columbia that have a version of such a law — those laws can give the authorities the right to temporarily confiscate someone’s firearm if they pose an immediate threat to themselves or others. As NPR points out, the grants aren’t even restricted to states that pass a red flag law.

The former president’s opposition is notable as it comes amid a flurry of speculation on whether he will announce a presidential campaign. GOP officials and pundits are closely watching how Republican voters respond to his efforts to shape the party’s future through endorsements and other statements.

Now out of office, Trump’s declaration is not a guarantee that a bill will fail. The former president repeatedly attacked President Joe Biden’s bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure plan and went after McConnell and House GOP lawmakers who supported it.

But his efforts failed. Biden signed the plan into law in November 2021.

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