Steve Bannon said if Donald Trump chooses to support gun control legislation following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, he’d be betraying his base in a catastrophic way.
Axios‘ Jonathan Swan got in touch with a variety of Trump affiliates to see what they believe the president will do in light of all the calls for gun control following the Mandalay Bay massacre.
“I asked Steve Bannon whether he could imagine Trump pivoting to the left on guns after the Las Vegas massacre. ‘Impossible: will be the end of everything,’ Bannon texted. When asked whether Trump’s base would react worse to this than they would if he supported an immigration amnesty bill, Bannon replied: ‘as hard as it is to believe actually worse.'”
Longtime Trump ally, Roger Stone, echoed Bannon’s comments saying, “base would go insane and he knows it.”
Those who were contacted all had similar feelings saying that Trump will not pivot left toward any sort of gun control legislation because he’s too close to the NRA, and he knows his base would turn on him in an instant.
Swan offered one possibility: Trump could make a modest concession to gun control advocates by opposing a controversial bill, backed by the NRA, to relax restrictions on the purchasing of gun silencers. Politico reported, citing GOP sources, that the bill ‘won’t be reaching the House floor anytime soon after a horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas.'”
Because the issue of silencers is less volatile than the idea of gun ownership, Trump could “get out in front of it,” and only get a “slap on the hand’ from the NRA.
Trump’s views on guns have shifted over time. Back in 2000, Trump expressed his feelings about guns in his book, The America We Deserve:
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.
With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within seventy-two hours if a potential gun owner has a record.
But in 2015, Trump’s views changed. In his book Crippled America, he wrote:
Opponents of gun rights often use a lot of scary descriptive phrases when proposing legislative action against various types of weapons. Ban ‘assault weapons’ they say, or ‘military-style weapons,’ or ‘high-capacity magazines. Those all do sound a little ominous, until you understand what they are actually talking about are common, popular semiautomatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned and used by tens of millions of Americans.
Sadly, we know Trump will never do anything to upset his dwindling, loyal base. It’s all he has.