Columnist: The NRA loves Trump, even though he supports the Senate Democrat gun bill

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2016

The National Rifle Association has threatened any legislator who votes for any sort of gun control, even blocking the Senate Democrat bill that would block terror suspects from purchasing a weapon. Yet the NRA has eagerly endorsed Donald Trump, who supports the same legislation as Senate Democrats. The question is why.

Eric Bradner from CNN wrote this on Nov. 22, 2015:

“Republican presidential contenders split Sunday on a proposal to ban individuals on a terror watch list from buying guns, with front-runner Donald Trump backing the measure and Ben Carson opposing it. The measure is being pushed by Democrats in the wake of the Paris attacks. It’s similar to a bill that George W. Bush’s Justice Department supported, but that never won approval due to opposition from gun rights groups.

Now, though, the GOP front-runner said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he’d support it.

Host George Stephanopoulos asked ‘Mr. Trump, yes or no, should someone on the terror watch list be allowed to buy a gun?’ Trump responded, ‘If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely.’”

Bradner pointed out that this legislation is the same as the one supported by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, introduced after the Paris shootings. It was reintroduced in December after the San Bernardino shootings, and again after the Orlando shootings, with Senate Republicans blocking it each time.

The NRA, however, led by Executive Director Chris Cox, said that any pro-gun control lawmakers “will pay a price,” according to Kate Valentine, reporting on Cox’s remarks on ABC’s “This Week” after the Orlando massacre.

But that doesn’t seem to apply to Donald Trump, who reiterated support for the same legislation that the NRA announced its opposition to. Here’s what Donald Trump said after the Orlando shooting on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” according to Cathy Burke with the conservative publication Newsmax.

“Donald Trump is doubling down on a no-gun ban for those on terror or no-fly lists, asserting anyone with ‘even an inclination’ toward terrorism should be restricted,” Burke wrote. She also reported on Trump’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” On this show, Trump told the interviewer, “We have to make sure that people that are terrorists or have even an inclination toward terrorism cannot buy weapons, guns,” according to Burke. And didn’t Trump support an assault weapons ban back in 2000, according to Sen. Ted Cruz and Politifact?

So the NRA has endorsed Trump, yet criticizes Senate Democrats for supporting the same legislation. Meanwhile, a Government Accountability Office report showed that people on the “no fly list” were successful 90 percent of the time in purchasing a weapon, according to Chris Ingraham with the Washington Post. Also, more than 70 percent of gun owners and NRA members also support this legislation aimed at those on the terror watch list, Ingraham writes.

“You can’t save the country with politics,” NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre told the CBS show “Face the Nation,” according to Burke. He added, “It’s all being politicized.”

That certainly does seem to be the case. It’s time we limit the activities of terror suspects, instead of looking to a group for leadership that can’t seem to make up its mind on who or what it supports.

By John A. Tures

Contributing columnist

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College. He may be reached at