Donald Trump campaigned as a fierce defender of the Second Amendment and the favored candidate of the National Rifle Association, vowing to undo any actions by President Barack Obama on gun control.
But when Trump nixed one of Obama’s most significant efforts to expand background checks on prospective gun buyers, he did so without fanfare. The Feb. 28 bill signing, which blocked the Social Security Administration from reporting mentally impaired recipients to a national background-check database, earned just a brief mention at the end of a White House advisory that contained no reference to firearms. Reporters ushered into the Oval Office that day heard Trump extol two other bills encouraging women to pursue careers in science.
But, with less public attention, the Trump administration has eased some gun regulations in recent months. Among them: The Army Corps of Engineers has filed notice in a court case that it is reconsidering a ban on carrying firearms on its land; the Justice Department narrowed its definition of fugitives barred from purchasing weapons; and the Interior Department lifted a federal ban on hunting with lead ammunition in national parks.
A White House official denied any deliberate effort to play down the change to the background-checks policy and declined to comment on that change or others related to guns.
“It was very quiet because if anyone looks under the hood of these laws, they can recognize that this has caused a significant threat to public safety,” said David Chipman, senior policy adviser for the gun-control group Americans for Responsible Solutions and a former official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “If these laws were good laws supported by the public that protected people’s rights while ensuring public safety, they’d proudly talk about what they are.”
(Excerpted from Washington Post 10/4/17)