Presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and some vulnerable GOP lawmakers signaled Wednesday that they are open to changing the nation’s gun laws, raising the possibility that the political tide might be shifting on an issue that has sharply divided Americans for years.
Mass shootings similar to the Orlando massacre that killed 49 people this week have quickly sparked a national outcry for congressional action in the past, usually followed by an intense pressure campaign by gun-rights supporters urging lawmakers to focus elsewhere.
But the debate launched this week could be different, thanks mostly to Trump.
The presidential candidate’s renewed focus on gun laws goes against GOP orthodoxy, which generally considers Second Amendment issues to be settled. And his attention to the issue comes in an election year when incumbent lawmakers may feel compelled to respond to Trump’s critique that nothing gets done in Washington.
On Wednesday, Trump said he would schedule a meeting soon with the National Rifle Association to discuss proposals to ban people on certain federal watch lists from buying firearms. Trump was renewing a position he first expressed last year after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. — but taking it to a new level by calling for a meeting with the NRA.