There’s a mass shooting in the United States almost every day, and while the victims, locations, and circumstances change, one thing remains the same—Congress does nothing. And Steve Bannon is quick to declare that consideration of any gun regulation is the third rail of alt-right politics.
“Impossible: will be the end of everything,” Bannon texted. When asked whether Trump’s base would react worse to this than they would if he supported an immigration amnesty bill, Bannon replied: “as hard as it is to believe actually worse.”
If Donald Trump actually takes any action to prevent mass murders, that would be unacceptable to the Republican base, which considers owning machinery designed to kill hundreds of their fellow Americans their only inalienable right. It may seem that someone using a machine gun to mow down innocent people from a secure elevated position just might tweak the idea that perhaps having such weapons readily circulating in the populous is a bad idea. But … we are talking about Donald Trump.
Already, some moderate Republicans have expressed hope that the shooting will push him to come out against a bill pending in the House that would loosen restrictions on purchasing silencers. …
“No one really cares about the silencer bill,” said political consultant John Weaver, a former adviser to Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain. “Trump once bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and no one would care. In light of this shooting, he could save lives by putting a stop to this loony silencer bill at no cost politically.”
No one cares about the silencer bill? Blasphemy. Silencers often sell for hundreds of dollars more than the guns they’re fitted to. Sure, no one can think of a good reason why someone should be able to fit a SOCOM grade suppressor on their AR-15 … but then, no one had a good reason to own an AR-15 in the first place. And Trump has a perfect reason to support the bill—the NRA has been one of his most consistent, most viscous, most willing to say anything supporters. Trump is not going to go against the only people who have offered to go to war to support him. And there’s someone in the family who really likes the bill.
The president’s son Donald Jr., a hunter, has been a key backer of the silencer bill. “It’s about safety. It’s a health issue, frankly,” the younger Trump said last year in an interview with the founder of SilencerCo, a manufacturer based in Utah.
It’s a health issue. Sure it is, because if you wear hearing protectors at the range you might not look cool. Which is, after all, the most important aspect of “health.” Also, the thing about hunting endangered species is that they’re a tad shy. Trump Junior could really use some hush-a-boom the next time he goes after elephants, or rhinos, or bald eagles.
Those fretting over the possible political damage to Trump if he fails to do something about a retired accountant treating a stadium full of Americans like someone bringing their boot down in an ant hill, forget that Trump is Trump. The people in Las Vegas might not have been slaughtered on Fifth Avenue, but Trump is sure their deaths won’t cost him any votes.
In fact, the only thing that might cost him a supporter is if he actually showed any concern beyond reading a speech without going off script.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.