As the National Rifle Association (NRA) attempts to cripple local gun control laws in California, New York and New Jersey, gun control leaders have pledged to “spend what it takes” to counter these measures. Gun control groups have been actively trying to ally themselves with progressives and preparing them for the upcoming fight by raising general awareness.
In the midst of this heated atmosphere, President Donald Trump will address NRA’s annual meeting due Friday, becoming the first president after Ronald Reagan to personally engage with the gun rights group.
Perhaps Trump’s underlying motive to engage with and address the gun rights group stems from the fact that the NRA was the single most important external organization which poured at least $30m in Trump’s political campaign and therefore helped him ascend to the highest rank of political power and White House.
As a result of this principle alliance with their close ally in the White House, the NRA found it in its best interests to go all-out against local and state level gun restrictions instead of passively denouncing them as they had been doing in the past.
Meanwhile, gun control groups have sought to educate their progressive allies regarding the importance of local gun laws.
“We’re drawing a line on the sand on this one, and we’ll spend what it takes,” said John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group financed by Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor. Everytown is currently holding six meetings every week in order to craft a sound plan of action to counter NRA’s “concealed carry reciprocity”, said spokesman Erika Soto Lamb.
Even though there are states like Vermont and Arizona where citizens can legally carry concealed guns in public without any requirements, other states or cities like Los Angeles and New York enforce rigorous measures to ensure that only citizens who need special protection are permitted to be armed, according to Adam Winkler, gun law expert at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.
NRA stands staunchly in favor of the “concealed carry reciprocity” agenda that renders gun permits issued in one state eligible in all states, and wants the Congress to pass legislation in favor of reciprocity.
Gun rights advocates think that given a broad spectrum of gun regulations present in each state, it becomes very confusing and gun owners often unfairly end up in jail after crossing over states where their permits aren’t valid.
In contrast, advocates of gun control dread the unsaid ills and dangers that would potentially arise from reciprocity. “Concealed carry reciprocity does nothing to create a national standard. What it does is make the weakest link the law of the land,” Feinblatt remarked.
Second Amendment proponents seem likely to lay support behind Trump. “If I had to grade him based upon everything that’s on his plate that he has to deal with, I’d have to give him an A,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “There’s no doubt that he calmed the fears of gun owners around the country that the federal government [will] be used as a tool to take their constitutionally protected rights away. I mean, there’s no two ways about that.”