Trump Pledges to Ban Bump Stocks If Congress Does Not Act

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Chris Reeves
Townhall.com

Trump Pledges to Ban Bump Stocks If Congress Does Not Act

On Monday, President Trump spoke to state governors from across the country at the 2018 White House Business Session. Trump made several notable comments at the event, including expressing his belief that he and the governors in the room would not have simply stood around like the Broward County Sheriff’s deputies as a massacre happened mere feet away.

Trump did not just use his remarks to condemn the deputies’ behavior, however. He also made a series of concrete proposals about gun control and mental health laws. Right off the bat, Trump proposed to ban bump stocks by executive fiat if Congress does not act on the issue, saying:

“[W]e’ll turn our grief into action. We have to have action. We don’t have any action. It happens, a week goes by, let’s keep talking, another week goes by, we keep talking. Two months go by, all of a sudden everybody’s off to the next subject […] By the way, bump stocks—we’re writing that out. I’m writing that out myself. I don’t care if Congress does it or not. I’m writing it out myself, okay? You put it into the machine-gun category, which is what it is. It becomes, essentially, a machine gun. And nobody’s gonna be able — it’s gonna be very hard to get ‘em, so we’re writing out bump stocks.”

Trump also proposed taking “steps to harden our schools so that they’re less vulnerable to attack,” which was when he lambasted the Broward deputies’ lack of response to the Parkland school shooting as being cowardly. This seemed to be part of Trump’s argument (made previously at CPAC 2018 last Friday) that teachers need to have the option of being armed so that they can defend themselves and their students when armed security guards fail at their jobs.

Trump then spoke about the issue of mental illness at length and made the case for some kind of return to America’s previous mental health laws, which allowed for individuals deemed dangerous to themselves or others to be involuntarily committed more easily:

“You know, in the old days, we had mental institutions. You had a lot of ‘em. And you could nab somebody like [Cruz] […] You can’t arrest him, I guess, ‘cause he hasn’t done anything, but you know he’s like a boiler, ready to explode, right? … But in the old days you’d put him into a mental institution. And we had them in New York and our government started closing them because of cost. […] So, we have no halfway. We have nothing between a prison and leaving him at his house, which we can’t do anymore.”

Trump also stressed the need for taking warnings from “friends, family, and neighbors” of disturbed individuals like the Florida school shooter more seriously and enabling law enforcement to act “quickly and decisively” on that information to stop potential threats. Trump used warnings provided to authorities by the Sandy Hook elementary school shooter’s mother to support his case that not enough has been done to give police the legal tools they need to protect the public from mass shooters.

The president concluded his list of proposals by issuing a vague statement in support of “common-sense measures that protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans while keeping guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves, and to others” (presumably referring to people who are dangerously mentally ill) and calling for the creation of a national culture “that cherishes life and condemns violence and embraces dignity.”

Refer to the following partial transcript of Trump’s remarks at the 2018 White House Business Session for more context about his statements on gun control and mental illness:

DONALD TRUMP: Today, I want to hear your ideas on a number of critical issues, but most importantly we want to discuss the public safety in schools and public safety generally. But school safety — we can’t have this go on.

I’m grateful that Governor Rick Scott is here and we thank him for his leadership in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in Parkland, Florida. Horrible. Our nation is heartbroken. We continue to mourn the loss of so many precious, innocent young lives. These are incredible people. I visited a lot of ‘em.

But we’ll turn our grief into action. We have to have action. We don’t have any action. It happens, a week goes by, let’s keep talking, another week goes by, we keep talking. Two months go by, all of a sudden everybody’s off to the next subject. Then when it happens again, everybody’s angry and let’s start talking again. We gotta st- — we gotta stop. By the way, bump stocks—we’re writing that out. I’m writing that out myself. I don’t care if Congress does it or not. I’m writing it out myself, okay? You put it into the machine-gun category, which is what it is. It becomes, essentially, a machine gun. And nobody’s gonna be able — it’s gonna be very hard to get ‘em, so we’re writing out bump stocks.

But we have to take steps to harden our schools so that they’re less vulnerable to attack. This includes allowing well-trained and certified school personnel to carry concealed firearm — at, at some point, you need volume. Now I don’t know that a school is gonna be able to hire a hundred security guards that are armed.

Plus, you know, I got to watch some deputy sheriffs performing this weekend. They weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners, alright? The way they performed was frankly disgusting. They were listening to what was going on, the one in particular. He was then — he was earlier. Then you had three others that probably a similar deal, a little bit later, but a similar kind of a thing. You know, I really believe, you don’t know until you test it, but I think I — I really believe I’d run in there, even if I didn’t have a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would have done that too, ‘cause I know most of you. But the way they performed was really a disgrace.

Second, we must confront the issue of mental health. And here is the best example of mental health. This kid, they have 39 red flags. They shoulda known. They did know. They didn’t do anything about it. That was really a bad time, I have to tell you—nobody bigger for law enforcement than I am—but between the people that didn’t go into that school and protect those lives and the fact that this should have been solved long before it happened—pretty sad.

So we to confront the issue and we have to discuss mental health and we have to do something about it. You know, in the old days, we had mental institutions. You had a lot of ‘em. And you could nab somebody like this because, you know, they did. They knew he was — something was off. You had to know that. People were calling all over the place. But you used to be able to bring ‘im into a mental institution, and hopefully he gets help or whatever, but he’s off the streets. You can’t arrest him, I guess, ‘cause he hasn’t done anything, but you know he’s like a boiler, ready to explode, right? So he’s — he just — you have to do something. But you can’t put him in jail, I guess, ‘cause he hasn’t done anything. But in the old days you’d put him into a mental institution. And we had them in New York and our government started closing them because of cost. And we’re gonna have to start talking about mental institutions, ‘cause a lot of the folks in this room closed their mental institutions also. So, we have no halfway. We have nothing between a prison and leaving him at his house, which we can’t do anymore. So I think you folks have to start thinking about that.

Third, we have to improve our early warning response system so that when friends, family, and neighbors do warn the authorities about a violent or dangerous individual, action is taken quickly and decisively. Look, you had the one mother, you remember, in Connecticut. So horrible that was. She was begging, begging to take her son in and help him do something, anything, he’s so dangerous. And nobody really listened to her. And he ended up killing her, and then the rest, you know what happened. It was a horror. But she was begging to do something about her own son. Recently, you had a grandmother that got to see the notes of her grandchild and she reported him, and they nabbed him. He was ready to go in for a school, looked like. She reported him. And there, the law enforcement did a very good job.

Fourth, we must pursue common-sense measures that protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans while keeping guns out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves, and to others.

And fifth, we must strive to create a culture in our country that cherishes life and condemns violence and embraces dignity.

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https://townhall.com/tipsheet/chrisreeves/2018/02/26/trump-pledges-to-ban-bump-stocks-if-congress-does-not-act-n2454683

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