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DC – GUN POLITICS – On guns and other divisive issues, Trump fears crossing his political base

During a 91-minute campaign rally, a mere 14 seconds left an indelible imprint on President Trump. Rousing supporters in Manchester, N.H., in the aftermath of two gun massacres last month, Trump proclaimed that he would “always uphold the Second Amendment.” The arena crowd burst into applause so rapturous that the president paused for those 14 seconds to absorb it. The cheers were the most electric of the night and, in Trump’s view, a searing reminder of the perils of crossing his base — especially on the issue of guns. The president was taken by the crowd’s overwhelming response and has been recounting it to advisers as they weigh possible policy prescriptions to address the epidemic of mass shootings, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal private deliberations. With the gun debate taking center stage in Washington as Congress reconvenes this week, lawmakers in both parties are looking to the president for signals on what legislation — if any — might be possible. Yet many hoping for stricter gun laws fret that Trump, despite at times advocating tougher restrictions, will ultimately be reluctant to break with gun rights supporters, especially as he heads into his 2020 reelection campaign.  [full article]

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