WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s tweet backing a ban on gun sales to people on terror watch and no-fly lists was met by a mix of surprise, support and rebuke from lawmakers on Capitol Hill and outright rejection by gun rights advocates.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee tweeted yesterday: “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no-fly list, to buy guns.”
The missive came hours before Senate Democrats launched a filibuster, led by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and joined by lawmakers, including Bay State U.S. Sens. Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, to protest inaction on gun-control measures, including the so-called “No-fly, no-buy” that Trump seemed to support in the tweet.
The gun rights group initially replied to Trump on Twitter with, “Our position is no guns for terrorists — period.” Then Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, clarified that the group’s position had not changed.
“Due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed,” Cox said.
Later, a tweet from the NRA went further: “Contact your lawmakers and tell them to oppose any new gun control measures!” — an indication that it would be unwilling to follow Trump’s lead.
Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, also rejected Trump’s stance.
“It should scare every American that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or, for that matter, Donald Trump, could put law-abiding citizens on a secret list which would deny them their constitutional rights,” Brown said.
Brown also blasted a compromise deal offered by Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas that would impose a 72-hour delay on gun purchases by those on watch lists to allow federal authorities to vet them, calling GOP lawmakers who support the measure “surrender monkeys.”
Trump’s tweet of support for the no-fly gun ban was met with bewilderment by some lawmakers leaving a briefing on the Orlando shooting investigation with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
“I didn’t know he said that,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia who has criticized President Obama for not saying the term “radical Islam,” but backs no-fly, no-buy legislation. “It makes all the sense in the world. Common sense is common sense.”
New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who has distanced herself from Trump as she fights a tight re-election battle, re-tweeted Trump’s comment, adding: “We need to work together to solve this & ensure terrorists can’t buy guns.”
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