As President Trump rolls out proposals that make the gun lobby shudder, strategists with congressional and gubernatorial campaigns across the country recalibrate their candidates’ stance on gun control.
Trump’s proposed action did not just include arming teachers, but ideas that have been thorns in the side of the right for years, such as banning bump stocks (a piece of equipment that can effectively make it easier for semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly), increasing the mental health requirements needed to purchase firearms and closing background check loopholes.
Conservatives vying for the support of that 2016 political base that propelled Trump to victory for this years’ midterm primaries are in for a tricky path. Breaking from the president usually spells danger for the far right, as 86% of conservatives support how Trump is handling his job in the most recent Gallup poll. However, the president is navigating nearly foreign territory in backing proposals that kick sand directly in the face of conservativism’s most powerful ally or feared enemy: the NRA.
This year will be interesting as nuanced positions on gun control become more popular given our country’s breaking point with school shootings and resulting political pressure. Will this be the year red states begin electing Republicans who support tightened gun laws?