With the notable exception of Eugene Volokh, the left-leaning Washington Post is not a friend of ours. So when their Fact Checker examined the above Tweet from “gun safety” champion Hillary Clinton — “Donald Trump would force schools to allow guns in classrooms on his first day in office” — you knew which way they’d come down. Fact! And so they did. But how Michelle Ye Hee Lee gets there is funny, in a sad sort of way. Because nailing down Donald Trump on a point of fact is like catching a greased pig (no offense to the pig). Like this . . .
Trump has argued against gun-free zones at military bases since last October, but he has been less vocal about repealing gun-free zones at schools.
The one time he talked about it publicly was at a January 2016 rally in Vermont: “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools — you have to — and on military bases. My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones.” His campaign did not respond to requests by the media to clarify his proposal.
Our colleague Jenna Johnson reported at the time that the proposal “raises a number of questions, such as: Would this apply to all public schools, from elementary to college? How would schools deal with the likely logistical and safety concerns created by having guns on the grounds?”
While the military’s policy on weapons on bases IS under the command and control of the Commander-in-Chief, I don’t think the President of the United States can simply declare a major piece of federal legislation — in this case the Gun Free School Zones Act — null and void with the stroke of a pen.
Not that Trump is bothered by such Constitutional considerations (see: initial comments on the military’s rules of engagement). As for clarification on “gun-free zones” sought by The Post’s Fact Checker, I say to the WaPo ask and ye shall receive! Trump’s great at clarification. And modification. And modification of clarifications. And clarifications of modifications. And so on.
[Note to Trump supporters: don’t get your knickers in a twist. I get it: Trump wants to get rid of “gun-free zones.” That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. And his opponent, Ms. Clinton, has this strong some might say irrepressible desire to disarm all Americans everywhere.]
The only specificity the Post could find on the subject of Donald Trump and “gun-free zones” came from his interview with . . . wait for it . . . The Outdoor Channel. And it went a little something like this . . .
“I’m going to get rid of the gun-free zones on the military bases. I’m also going to do it in schools. You say you have a school, and it’s gun-free. The criminals are out there saying, ‘This is incredible. This is perfect. There’s no guns in there. I’m the only one that’s going to have guns.’ You can’t do it. I’m going to work with the states, and if I have to, I’m going to try and perhaps override the states if I have to, if I’m allowed to do that. . . . But we can’t have gun-free zones where, I see schools advertise, ‘We are a gun-free zone.’ And then you have these crazy people out there saying, ‘Boy, this is the most incredible thing,’ and that’s happening.”
Yup, the man who wants to be President of the United States doesn’t know how to be president. At least Mr. Trump’s heart’s in the right place. Now. For now. But the main point is clear: no one really knows what Mr. Trump will do about “gun-free zones.” Least of all Mr. Trump. And that’s a fact.