Pressure is mounting on Congress to “do something” in response to recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. A poll released Monday confirms what has been true for years: namely, that Americans support new gun regulations.
As the Washington Post put it, Americans “overwhelmingly support expanded background checks for gun buyers and allowing law enforcement to temporarily seize weapons from troubled individuals.” That includes “at least 8 in 10 Republicans, white evangelical Christians, members of gun-owning households.”
Democrats have a big advantage on the issue, with a 51% of Americans trusting them on the gun issue, and only 36% trusting Trump.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has blocked knee-jerk gun control efforts in the past, but has said he will follow President Donald Trump’s lead. For the president, the issue presents a dilemma: he risks handing the Democrats an election issue if he does nothing, but risks losing support from his base if he compromises on guns.
Fortunately, there is a solution that could allow both sides to claim victory. Trump and McConnell could agree, on condition, to “expanded” background checks (a placebo, since most mass shooters pass background checks).
In return, they would demand universal reciprocal concealed carry — that states honor each other’s decisions to grant specific individuals the right to carry concealed weapons after an additional application.
According to scholar John Lott, Jr., the most important measure to lower gun violence — perhaps counter-intuitively — is expanding concealed carry. Criminals are less likely to shoot if someone may shoot back.
Trump could expand the Second Amendment’s reach while expanding background checks — and do the one thing that might actually address the problem.
To summarize: Congress could make concealed carry universal in exchange for requiring background checks on the small percentage of sales that don’t involve them. Trump would defuse the Democrats’ issue while expanding gun rights.
It seems like a no-brainer, and a way to prevent Democrats from taking it all in 2020 — in which case, there will be expanded background checks plus new restrictions on guns, in exchange for nothing and for no benefit.