Donald Trump once issued a dire warning to voters — that President Barack Obama was coming to take their guns away.
Now, in what political pundits call a stunning reversal, Trump is suggesting doing just that.
In a meeting with lawmakers on how to address school violence, Trump raised the idea of taking guns from people deemed to be dangerous without affording them due process.
“I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida… to go to court would have taken a long time,” Trump said (via theHill). “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
As the report noted, Trump’s surprising proposal came in response to Vice President Mike Pence suggesting that law enforcement have more leeway to confiscate guns from people deemed to dangerous to have them — but only after going through the proper legal channels.
Trump said he could not be patient enough to go through due process before taking guns away.
“Or, Mike, take the firearms first, and then go to court,” Trump said in response to Pence’s proposal.
Donald Trump had once been sharply opposed to an idea of confiscating guns from Americans and repeated warned voters that it was Democrats planning to do that. Back in 2015, in the early days of his campaign, Trump claimed that he “heard” Obama was “thinking about signing an executive order where he wants to take your guns away.” That part was untrue, FactCheck.org noted, as Obama at no point indicated that he would sign an executive order confiscating guns without due process, and no such legislation was ever discussed or proposed at any point during his presidency.
When Trump was challenged about the claims in an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” he could not cite a source for his claim.
“Yeah, I would say it would be impossible,” he replied after being told that Obama could not sign an executive order confiscating guns. “But nevertheless he was thinking about it. And I’ve heard it from numerous networks. And I’ve read it in the papers. You know. My source is the papers. So, they’re pretty good sources.”
As many political pundits noted, Donald Trump’s proposal to confiscate guns without due process appeared to match the attack many Republicans had pointed toward Democrats for years — telling voters that Democrats wanted to pass laws that would have their guns taken away.
“I think they should have taken them away, whether they had the right or not,” Trump said. He added later, in case there was any doubt: "Take the guns first, go through due process second." https://t.co/eOgk2rt6GC— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) February 28, 2018
Trump is openly advocating taking peoples' guns without due process, in case you wanted to tell your paranoid relatives and friends they've been afraid of the wrong people.— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) February 28, 2018
Amid the controversy, there appears to be little chance of any guns being confiscated. Legal experts noted that Donald Trump’s proposal to confiscate guns without due process could never be carried out legally.