White House Asks Gun-Rights Leader for Input on Shooting Response

'They wanted to address the problems of violence in our society and at the same time protecting Second Amendment rights'

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August 8, 2019

The White House reached out to a top official of two gun-rights organizations on Thursday to seek his input on a possible response to the recent mass shootings, including how to handle potential gun control legislation.

Alan Gottlieb, the founder of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, told the Washington Free Beacon he spoke with a top White House staffer. They discussed how gun rights advocates view the current debate over recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Gottlieb said they addressed a wide range of proposals that have been discussed in recent days.

"We talked about everything from background checks to banning semi-automatic firearms and magazines to red flag laws," Gottlieb said. "We went through everything that's been proposed."

Gottlieb said he expressed concerns over how the proposals could potentially infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. He said the official, who he described as a top staffer but declined to name, was receptive to the concerns and open to hearing how proposals could be changed to address concerns.

"It was a very good, positive conversation," Gottlieb said. "They wanted to address the problems of violence in our society and at the same time protect Second Amendment rights. And doing it not just lip service or symbolism over substance, but making proposals that could work and don't eradicate people's freedom."

He said they the problem of a "security deficiency" caused by a gap between the availability of resources to prevent attacks and the willingness of people to take advantage of those resources. He said the problem is that people don't often say something when they identify a problem that should be addressed, and that in some cases, law enforcement also fails to act on reports of troubling or even criminal behavior.

Gottlieb said he was pleased with the White House reaching out and with their receptiveness.

"I was happy on two counts," he said. "One, they reached out. Which shows that, you know, their interest and concern for our positions. And their questions were really good. 'Well, how do we address this and not do this? How do we really solve these kinds of problems? What can the gun rights community support and what can't it support?' They were definitely respecting our input."

The conversation comes after the Washington Post reported President Trump on Tuesday spoke directly with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre about the group's opposition to the universal background check bill passed by the Democrat-controlled House earlier this year. Trump had tweeted about a potential deal involving the legislation on Monday. The two conversations with gun-rights leaders show the Trump White House is open to a dialogue with gun owners on how to move forward.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Gottlieb said he had already made plans for more conversations with the White House in the future.