The Executive Director of the National Rifle Association’s legislative arm contended that neither the President nor the Vice President want gun control after meeting with them earlier this week.
Chris Cox, head of the organization’s lobbying unit, took to Twitter to praise a meeting he had with President Trump and Vice President Pence and to assert their support for gun rights.
“I had a great meeting tonight with @realDonaldTrump & @VP. We all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control,” Cox wrote.
Before meeting with Cox and other leaders of the NRA, President Trump met with members of Congress at the White House and seemed to encourage them to pursue more comprehensive gun control legislation than was originally being considered.
“You have to be very, very powerful on background checks. Don’t be shy,” Trump said during the meeting. “I’d rather have you come down on the strong side than the weak side. The weak side is easier to do.”
On the issue of “red flag,” or gun violence restraining orders, that allow family members and law enforcement officials to ask judges to strip gun rights from people showing warning signs of violence, the President seemed to advocate for a curbing of individual rights.
“..Take the firearms first and then go to court, because that’s another system. 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…To go to court would have taken a long time. So you could do exactly what you’re saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second,” the President said addressing VP Mike Pence.
Cox’s tweet seemed to be aimed at reassuring gun-rights advocates that neither the President nor the Vice President are calling for an abridgement of Second-Amendment rights.
The White House has called for comprehensive gun-rights legislation that would include an increase to the eligibility age to purchase assault rifles and an expansion of the nation’s background check system to include all gun purchases, even those made at gun shows or over the internet. That provision is something gun-rights advocates have long opposed.
It is unclear whether such a package has the support necessary to pass Congress.
The President however seemed to encourage lawmakers of all kinds to challenge the NRA if necessary. During a meeting with the nation’s governors this week, he said, “Don’t worry about the NRA, they’re on our side. Half of you are so afraid of the NRA. There’s nothing to be afraid of. …
“And you know what, if they’re not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while, that’s OK. Sometimes we’re going to have to be very tough and we’re going to have to fight ’em,” he added.
The President struck a different tone after the meeting with group at the White House. “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!” the President wrote on Twitter.