(American Prospect) -- Speaking to the activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, President Trump interrupted his freeform stream of consciousness performance to take a quick poll of the audience. "If you only had a choice of one, what would you rather have?" he asked them. "The Second Amendment or the tax cuts?" When he had them applaud for each, the cheers for gun rights were far louder.
That wouldn't be the case if you could read the minds of the Republican Party's representatives in Congress, for whom tax cuts are always the highest priority. Yet over the last few years, the GOP has become not just a pro-gun party but a party utterly in thrall to the National Rifle Association and its increasingly extreme views. Some Republicans in Congress fight every suggestion of regulating guns because it's what they really believe, while others do it because they fear the NRA's wrath. But now some glimmers of change may actually be appearing. The NRA is on the defensive, and people are beginning to stand up to it.
We don't know what legislation might emerge, but it's remarkable to see even erstwhile NRA allies like Florida governor Rick Scott suggesting that we might do things like raise the legal age to buy long guns like the AR-15 used by the shooter in Parkland to 21 (it's now 18, while you have to be 21 to buy a handgun). It may be a modest measure, but to see a hard-right Republican like Scott buck the NRA on anything is evidence of a change.
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