Some conservatives are parting ways with President Trump over his support of “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed high-risk or mentally unstable.
Debbie Dooley, a board member of Tea Party Patriots, said Mr. Trump “will lose in 2020 if he pushes red flag laws,” saying she has been inundated with complaints from “hard-core” Trump supporters.
“Trump supporters are extremely upset over @realDonaldTrump apparent support of red flag laws,” she tweeted. “ANY Republican that supports Red Flag laws should [be] voted out of office. I won’t vote for them even @potus if he keeps pushing red flag laws.”
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In the wake of last weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Mr. Trump has expressed support for red-flag laws or extreme risk protection orders, which usually allow for a family member to petition a court for confiscation of firearms from someone deemed a threat.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, are working on a proposal to provide federal grants to states that want to enact red-flag laws. At least 15 states and the District of Columbia have such laws.
Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, said he opposes Mr. Trump’s support for red-flag laws because it will pave the way for Democrats to enact more gun-control laws.
“I see Democrat presidential candidate after Democrat presidential candidate promising to ban and confiscate guns,” Mr. Manning wrote Thursday in the group’s publication, the Daily Torch. “And I see President Donald Trump supporting state red flag laws which will lay the groundwork for them to do it.”
He said the president himself has been a victim of top law-enforcement officials who abused the law to conduct surveillance on him in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“If the president of the United States himself is not safe from politically motivated abuse of the prosecutorial system, how can the average citizen trust that a law allowing legal, ‘temporary’ confiscation of firearms using ‘expedited due process’ won’t be abused by every risk-averse and politically motivated prosecutor in America?” Mr. Manning wrote. “The left has sufficiently demonized anyone who supports Donald Trump that no legal ground can be ceded to give these loons of the left a lawful pathway to confiscate guns.
He added, “No amount of due process protection will matter to those who believe that all Trump supporters are Nazis and hence all Trump supporters are evil and should be stripped of their rights.”
The president also said Wednesday that he favors proposals to expand background checks on firearms purchases.
National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke with Mr. Trump on Tuesday after the president expressed support for a background check bill, warning him it would not be popular with the president’s base, The Washington Post reported.
The president similarly expressed support for greater background checks after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018. After the NRA voiced its objections, Mr. Trump didn’t pursue the legislation.
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