Donald Trump stokes a totally false idea on the 2nd Amendment in CPAC speech

President Donald Trump spent the last two days insisting that he was ready to find compromise on gun control measures...

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 3:46 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2018 3:46 PM

President Donald Trump spent the last two days insisting that he was ready to find compromise on gun control measures in the wake of the murders of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week.

He expressed support for expanded background checks and for raising the age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 and argued that he wasn't at all worried about blowback from the National Rifle Association.

That all changed during Trump's speech Friday morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington. Talking about the stakes of the 2018 election, Trump said that if Democrats win back control of Congress "they'll take away your 2nd Amendment."

As he closed his speech, Trump again said Democrats want to repeal the 2nd Amendment: "They will do that, they will do that," he said.

Which is, of course, not true. It is also hugely toxic to any attempt to find shared ground on the sort of "common sense" changes to gun laws that Trump, um, trumpeted later in his CPAC speech.

Let's start with the logistical fallacy at the heart of Trump's claim.

In order to "take away your 2nd Amendment," two-thirds of the House and Senate would need to approve of a proposed Constitutional amendment to repeal the 2nd Amendment. If that happened, the proposed amendment would go to each of the 50 state legislatures, where it would face an up-or-down vote. Three-quarters of those states -- 38 -- would need to approve of the amendment repealing the 2nd Amendment. If they did, the 2nd Amendment would be gone.

Two-thirds of the House and Senate would never agree on this. And even if they did, there is a 0% chance that 38 state legislatures would OK such a plan. Republicans currently have majorities in both the state House and state Senate in 32 states. Thirty-two!

Trump, of course, isn't really engaged in the math of repealing a constitutional amendment. And he's banking on the fact that none of the CPAC crowd cheering for that line has any real sense of the logistical unlikelihood of Democrats getting rid of of their right to bear arms.

What Trump is doing is trying to scare people into voting. If you don't turn out to vote this November, Democrats are going to take control of Congress. Then they'll repeal the 2nd Amendment. And that's when they come to your house and collect your gun(s).

In doing so, Trump is aping a longtime tactic of the NRA -- casting the entire gun debate as a slippery slope. Give an inch on gun control -- universal background checks, for example -- and open Pandora's box to the true motive of gun control fanatics: National gun collection.

"You should be anxious and you should be frightened," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told the CPAC crowd 24 hours before Trump spoke. "What they want is more restrictions on the law-abiding. They want to sweep right under the carpet the failure of school security."

This sort of all-or-nothing thinking is a massive impediment to any change -- even on something like universal background checks, which has near-unanimous support -- on gun laws.

Trump's pivot from compromiser-in-chief to flamethrower-in-chief on guns should surprise exactly no one. He did a very similar about-face on immigration -- voicing support for comprehensive immigration reform on a Tuesday and then walking away from any sort of compromise deal on a Thursday.

This is a day-to-day president. What he says one day means nothing about what he will say the next. Whether it's guns or immigration, Trump is, at his core, fundamentally changeable. He will say what gets him applause. And he will change that view on a dime.

Don't get fooled again. Whatever Trump says on guns tomorrow -- and it might be the opposite of what he said today -- is indicative of absolutely nothing.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 74°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Mostly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Dry overnight with more sunshine in store for the workweek.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather