Ingram Publishing/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The National Rifle Association, which spent about $30 million on advertising alone to help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, is gearing up to push its agenda in Washington next year with Republicans in control of Congress and the White House.
The group is placing a priority on Trump’s nomination of a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was appointed to the court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan. The next president’s ability to tip the balance of the court was a big factor in the NRA’s defense of Trump during the election and the reason for spending an unprecedented amount on his campaign.
The priority for the NRA is to make sure Trump follows through on his promise to nominate a justice who would be “very pro-Second Amendment,” as the president-elect said during his recent interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes.” With a new conservative justice, the court could move to expand gun rights and remove current restrictions on firearms opposed by the gun lobby and many Republicans.
During the campaign, Trump pushed a list of 21 names he would consider for the high court if he won the election. All of those on the list are constitutional conservatives.
In terms of its legislative agenda, the NRA is placing a priority on making it easier for gun-owners to carry a concealed weapon throughout out the country. Currently, states have varying requirements that have to be met before they issue a permit allowing an individual to carry a concealed weapon in their jurisdiction. The NRA is pushing legislation that would require states to honor permits issued by another state regardless of whether the standards for issuing the permit are the same.
Gun control advocates oppose the idea, arguing individual states should be allowed to set their own gun-safety standards.
Congressional Democrats are sure to try and block any right to carry legislation and will likely have enough votes in the Senate to filibuster such a proposal.
The relationship between the NRA and Trump started in May, when the gun-lobby endorsed the candidate earlier than it had ever endorsed a Republican presidential contender.
“The Second Amendment is under threat like never before,” Trump told the NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky. “Crooked Hillary is the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment candidate ever to run for office.”
The NRA’s top lobbyist, Chris Cox, spoke at the Republican National Convention in July and highlighted the next president would fill a Supreme Court vacancy. He reminded attendees the new Justice could directly affect gun rights.
The last expected push for the gun-lobby — Trump might loosen national background checks for gun purchases by undoing executive actions dealing with weapons. He would have the ability to repeal executive actions put in place by President Barack Obama, who has thwarted the NRA’s agenda during his two terms in office.
Trump is a concealed-carry permit holder.
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