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: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
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