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Second Amendment Shows The Limits Of Trump’s Transactional Presidency

As conservatives gathered at CPAC to celebrate a successful first year of the presidency of Donald Trump, and the Heritage Foundation published an article claiming Trump’s first year was more successfully conservative than Ronald Reagan’s, the President’s response to Nikolas Cruz’s crimes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School showed the limits of Trump’s commitment to conservative principles and the conservative agenda.

The Washington Post’s James Hohmann reports that during his televised roundtable with lawmakers to discuss what should be done to prevent future school shootings like the one in Florida, Vice President Pence Trump and Feinsteinbegan discussing the concept of gun violence restraining orders. He noted that states like California let local law enforcement officers go to court and obtain an order to collect someone’s firearms when red flags suggest they are a potential danger to themselves or others. “Allow due process, so that no one's rights are trampled,” Pence said.

According to Hohman, Trump interrupted. “Or, Mike, take the firearms first and then go to court,” he said. “Because a lot of times, by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures. I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man's case that just took place in Florida. … To go to court would have taken a long time.”

Removing any doubt that he might have misspoke, the president circled back later to complain that there are too many “checks and balances” that limit what can be done to prevent mentally unfit people from buying or keeping guns. “So, we have to do something very decisive,” he said according to Hohman’s reporting.

As Hohman and fellow Post writers Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve observed, “Whatever your view of Second Amendment jurisprudence, Trump’s flippant comments showed a startling indifference for foundational rights that are enumerated in the Fourth, Fifth and 14th amendments. The legal concept of due process is as old as the Magna Carta.”

That the President was so far afield from constitutional conservative principles that even The Washington Post found itself to his right says a lot about just how anti-constitutional Trump’s position now is on gun control.

Michael D. Shear of The New York Times wrote that “the president veered wildly from the NRA playbook in front of giddy Democrats and stone-faced Republicans. He called for comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks to weapons purchased at gun shows and on the internet, keep guns from mentally ill people, secure schools and restrict gun sales from some young adults. He even suggested a conversation on an assault weapons ban.”

How giddy Democrats were could be quantified by the big grin on liberal California Senator Diane Feinstein’s face in photographs published after the meeting.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican who sat next to Trump looking flustered, emerged from the meeting and declared, “I thought it was fascinating television and it was surreal to actually be there.”

However, such is Trump’s hold on the Republican political imagination that the Washington Post reports that, so far, only one Republican member of Congress appears to have sent out a news release objecting to Trump’s comments. “We’re not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the president talked to today doesn’t like them,” #NeverTrump Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a statement.

The media’s primary takeaway from the meeting was that Trump’s suggestion to revive a bill drafted in 2013 by Sens. Joe Manchin III, (D-WV), and Patrick J. Toomey, (R-PA), after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was now the President’s preferred legislative alternative.

However, the key to understanding Trump and his approach to this and all other legislation was his repeated rejection the NRA’s top legislative priority, a bill known as concealed carry reciprocity, which would allow a person with permission to carry a concealed weapon in one state to automatically do so in every state.

Trump dismissed the measure, and other legislation to clarify Second Amendment protections “as having no chance at passage in the Congress.”

“You’ll never get it,” Trump told Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Republican whip who was gravely injured in a mass shooting last year but still opposes gun restrictions. “You’ll never get it passed. We want to get something done.”

Getting “something” done, as opposed to standing for constitutional conservative principles, is President Trump’s goal.

We saw something similar in Trump’s approach to immigration in which he was prepared to trade amnesty for 1.8 million (and counting) illegal aliens for his preferred policy outcomes in other areas of immigration policy.

Together, these two examples give us important insight into Donald Trump’s philosophy of government. In contrast to Barack Obama, who governed according to a far-left philosophy and Ronald Reagan who governed according to conservative principles, Trump governs on a transactional basis; give me something I want, and I’ll give you something you want. In this case what Trump wants is to “do something” about school shootings, even if it violates numerous provisions of the Constitution.

As we have said all along, no one should fool themselves into thinking that Donald Trump is a movement conservative. Our view of what one might call Trump’s “transactional presidency” is that conservatives should book the victories for conservative principles when they are offered and resist Trump’s deals with Democrats when they violate those principles. The President’s impulse to do a deal with Democrats to further restrict our Second Amendment rights is one of those deals to be resisted.

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2nd Amendment

Perhaps someone should mention to President Trump that without the due process in the Constitution, they might just throw him in prison for Russian collusion and worry about due process later, which, of course, would never happen. Maybe thia would wake him up a little.

Second Amendment

No more gun laws please! They only make things more dangerous for the law abiding and help no one but gang bangers and other criminals!