The cheers for President Donald Trump at a National Rifle Association convention Friday showed that he’s sitting pretty among gun-rights activists.
To keep it that way, the president doesn’t need to do much of anything, for the moment.
Trump already put Neil Gorsuch on the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the long-vacant seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a fan of hunting who spent his last hours last year shooting quail with fellow members of an elite international society.
Gorsuch now restores the court’s conservative majority. Those most concerned about the Second Amendment are confident he will at least be wary of affirming the constitutionality of any new weapons regulations.
An NRA ad aired ahead of Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearings, proclaimed: “Four Supreme Court justices believe you have the right to defend yourselves with a gun. Four do not. The men and women of the NRA will not let anti-gun elites strip away our rights or our freedom.”
Symbolically, the president’s namesake son makes a public show of shooting for sport. Last week, for example, Donald Trump Jr. was in Montana targeting prairie dogs.
Restrictions on assault weapons and mental-health requirements may poll well after horrid attacks by armed civilians on unarmed civilians. But Democrats who push new restrictions as a solution are out of power and reduced to gestures of protest.
“As your president, I will never, ever infringe on the right of people to keep and bear arms,” Trump declared Friday.
As you’d expect, the Secret Service kept audience members from bringing their own weapons into the Atlanta convention hall where Trump basked in his 2016 victory and felt the love.
Given a GOP-run Congress, the president may even get to sign an expansion or two of rights to purchase and carry — and not just keep the status quo by staving off new gun controls. Will all existing local and state weapons restrictions remain?
“You came through for me,” Trump told his NRA audience. “and I am going to come through for you.”
That leaves him as comfortable and secure as any president when it comes to pleasing a constituency and industry that clashed so loudly with his predecessor.