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Biden advocates for gun control; Trump adviser indicted : NPR




While Congress is unlikely to pass President Biden’s most ambitious gun control proposals, some legislation may still be possible. In addition, a second former adviser to Trump is indicted.


And today we start again with weapons. President Biden issued an urgent call this week to Congress to restore the ban on assault weapons, raise the purchase age for semi-automatic rifles to 21, pass nationwide red flag laws and strengthen background checks. In an address to the nation, the president recounted one of the most disturbing stories of how one of the fourth graders survived the shooting at a school in Texas last week.


PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Imagine being that little girl, that brave little girl from Uvalde, who smeared the blood of her murdered friend’s body all over her own face to stand still among the corpses of her class and pretend she was dead so to stay alive.

SIMON: And yet Democrats and Republicans in Congress are still a long way from any deal. Joining us is Ron Elving from NPR. Ron, thanks for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Glad to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: It’s not the language or the images that are nice to start the morning with, is it?

ELVING: No. They are so much a part of our lives today. And as far as Congress is concerned, there is simply no chance of banning assault weapons. If Republicans were open to this, Scott, we would still have the one Congress passed in 1994. But the price of that deal was a 10-year sunset clause. And when we came to 2004, the Republicans were in the majority, and they just let that sun go down. So right now we have a nominal Democratic majority, but it takes 60 senators to pass legislation. The Democrats will need at least 10 Republicans to join them. So right now, the good — the best chance for promising ground for a deal would be to raise the gun purchase age from 18 to 21, as you mentioned a moment ago. Several of the most recent mass shootings have been committed by 18-year-olds. But, you know, the NRA works its will every day on Capitol Hill. And just last night, Chris Jacobs, a Republican congressman who represents Buffalo, the scene of that horrific grocery store shooting – he’s a person who said he would support a gun ban. assault, had many backlashes, repressions. Last night he announced his retirement. So, Scott, this is a wall trophy the NRA can put up now.

SIMON: Let me make a difficult transition to ask about the economy, as new employment numbers came out on Friday. Seventeen consecutive months of gains. Unemployment remained level. But the stock market fell. Is it because they are more concerned about inflation?

ELVING: Lots of inflation fears, of course – inflation fears that turn into higher interest fears as the Federal Reserve tries to deal with that inflation. If the Fed goes too high too fast, we could end up in another recession. And the irony is that everyone wants jobs to be plentiful, but full employment increases wages and benefits – more of the good stuff which also pumps more money into the economy and contributes to more inflation, and here we are again.

SIMON: Another confidant of former President Trump has been indicted for refusing to cooperate with the January 6 Committee. How does Peter Navarro figure into the events of January 6?

ELVING: He was apparently part of the conversation between Trump aides and members of Congress that the election results might not necessarily be final. Without offering any evidence of real problems with the vote, they came up with a ploy by which they thought they might be able to invalidate this election and turn to other alternative voters instead. Now, without going into all the details about that, Peter Navarro wrote about how it could be done. All of this has been discredited by conservative jurists. We’ll be hearing from some of them as the January 6 Committee kicks off next week Thursday night with their first prime-time public hearings. So Peter Navarro is actually an economist, but he’s bonded with Donald Trump over anti-China policies that have been a longtime obsession for him since he got his PhD at Harvard. And at this point, he’s going to have to answer a few questions about his involvement in that scheme we mentioned a moment ago.

SIMON: Ron Elving from NPR, thank you very much.

ELVING: Thank you, Scott.

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