The Slatest

Trump: “Take the Guns First, Go Through Due Process Second”

Donald Trump just hosted a meeting of members of Congress from both parties at the White House to discuss potential gun-violence legislation. We’ll have more on the meeting—in which Trump expressed support for Democrat-backed initiatives like universal background checks, a bump-stock ban, and more—momentarily. For now, take a look at the remarkable video above, in which Trump—who is, of course, an NRA-backed Republican—says explicitly that guns should be seized from potentially dangerous individuals (an idea generally referred to as a “gun violence restraining order”) before the seizure is legally reviewed:

PENCE: The focus is to literally give families and give local law enforcement additional tools if an individual is reported to be a potential danger to themselves or others. Allow due process so no one’s rights are trampled but the ability to go to court, obtain an order and collect not only the firearms but any weapons in the possession. 

TRUMP: Or, Mike, take the firearms first and then go to court. Because that’s another system. A lot of times by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process. I like taking the guns early. Like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida. He had a lot of firearms. They saw everything. To go to court would have taken a long time. You could do exactly what you’re saying but take the guns first, go through due process second. 

(You can read here about how the process that Pence is describing has worked in Indiana, where he used to be governor, and a few other states that have similar laws.)

It’s definitely possible that the White House will issue a statement or anonymous walk back making clear that “the president never meant to suggest that any individual should be deprived of their Second Amendment blah blah blah,” but even so, this seems like a striking symbol of the way the Parkland, Florida, shooting has shifted the parameters of the national gun-violence debate.