Congress needs to ACT!
Gun rights advocates entered the Trump era with high hopes. After years of frustration they thought a gun-friendly president and Congress would advance their agenda. At the top of the list: a gun-owner's ability to bring a legal weapon across any state lines, a policy known as reciprocity.
But many of their favorite initiatives have stalled in Washington, set aside as the city is closely watching the investigations into President Donald Trump's administration. Republicans are focused on other priorities, especially health care, but also keeping gun rights on the back burner may be the fact that because they are, in fact, a heavy lift.
Congress faces a public weary of mass shootings, terror attacks and random violence — most recently in the shadows of the nation's capital when a man disgruntled about Trump and conservatives opened fire on a ballfield where Republican congressmen were practicing for a baseball game, injuring five people including a House Republican leader. And while a recent Pew study showed Americans pretty much split on support for gun control, specific provisions like keeping guns away from the mentally ill or those on watch lists are actually quite popular.
"Reciprocity in particular is going to prove to be a harder sell," said Robert Spitzer, chairman of the political science department at State University of New York at Cortland. "Think gun-toting civilians in Times Square. It's going to be a hard sell, and the Republicans will have to squander what few political resources they have to push the bill along."
The year started off with promise for the gun industry when Congress almost immediately scrapped a rule created to deny people with some mental disorders from purchasing a firearm. On his first day in office, the new Interior secretary — who rode to work that day on horseback — lifted a ban on hunting with lead ammunition on federal park land.
Gun rights groups have other key items on their agenda. After reciprocity, a perennial favorite is a measure that would make it easier to buy suppressors, commonly referred to as silencers. Supporters argue it would not only lower noise from guns — especially long guns used by hunters — but also add a potential market as they see sales drop.
So what's happened? Not much.
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