If you thought Trump and Republican support for Alabama’s Roy Moore was about as low as the GOP could go, think again. It hasn’t gotten as much attention as the gun-toting, older-male-seeking-young-females Moore has, but the GOP prostration to the National Rifle Association and House passage of the NRA’s pet concealed carry bill took things down another notch.
While Democrats in the House and Senate were asking their colleagues accused of sexual harassment and misconduct to resign, Trump and the Republican National Committee went all in on getting their own sexual misfit elected to the Senate.
Moore’s extreme views and removal from two judgeships for defying Supreme Court orders would normally be the focus of a campaign against his fitness for office. But those blemishes have become background noise to the credible allegations of multiple women that he pursued them when they were teenagers and corroboration that he was barred from a shopping mall for behavior toward young girls.
But after some initial holding back, Trump has endorsed Moore, making robo calls for him and pleading that “America can’t afford” a Moore loss because the “Make America Great Again’ agenda needs him. The RNC followed by announcing it was transferring funds to Moore’s race.
It just didn’t seem like they could go any lower, but they continued the trend when the House passed the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, 231-198, with only 14 Republicans opposed. All those tirades about states rights when it comes to prohibiting gay marriage, health care, and control over public lands went out the window in favor of a NRA priority.
The bill allows anyone with a concealed carry permit in one state to carry it in another state even if they don’t meet that state’s standards. In addition, it specifies that anyone with a concealed handgun in another state is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.
Essentially it nationalizes the lowest standards.
Thirteen states don’t require a background check or any training to carry a concealed weapon. Nine states are “Permitless Carry,” allowing anyone who can legally possess a firearm to carry it concealed.
It isn’t a question of which is worse, sexual abuse, harassment and misconduct or lax concealed weapons laws. The point is that, in the midst of the “silence breakers” movement, the GOP is embracing both and they are indeed intertwined.
The NRA put $55,000 into mailers attacking Moore’s opponent while its priority concealed carry bill creates a threat to victims of domestic violence by effectively “zeroing out” state laws designed to protect victims of abuse.
Federal law prohibiting gun ownership by persons convicted of domestic violence only applies to spouses, not dating partners or stalkers. In 28 states individuals convicted of stalking are not allowed to carry guns in public. Oregon concealed carry laws require a training course and include, among other thresholds, a declaration the applicant is not subject to a restraining order from contacting or stalking another.
In the NRA vision, if you’re banned from concealed carry in your state due to domestic violence, you can just go to another state that’s more permissive and get a permit, thus undermining the laws of states trying to restrict abusers and protect victims.
By the time you read this, Roy Moore may be a newly elected U.S. Senator. As for the concealed carry act, it probably won’t pass the Senate because it will need 60 votes over there. Whether or not Moore wins or the concealed carry passes, they both reveal what is becoming of the heart and soul of the Trump version of the GOP.
It happens that apparently, all it takes to make America great again is to simply lower the bar.