On Sunday, a man named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of people watching an open air concert from his hotel room. He killed 58 people and injured over 500. Lawmakers have been slow to respond with anything resembling gun control, or moves to take automatic firepower out of the hands of civilians.
The Trump administration knows that the president's base is largely composed of people who believe the Second Amendment extends to the right to own an AK 47, if you so choose. For deer shooting. So they are trying their best to spin the story of Las Vegas into a cautionary tale about the Obama administration, rather than something the president could do something about now. Kellyanne Conway appeared on CNN to debate the issue Thursday morning with host Chris Cuomo.
Conway had her talking points ready.
“It was President Obama’s ATF — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms — in 2010 that decided not to regulate [bump stocks]. That should be part of the conversation and part of the facts you put before your viewers,” said Conway, referencing Paddock's use of bump stocks to power his firearms. This is true. The U.S. government has long been reluctant to impose gun control laws on the public, and many of them are heavily supported by the NRA, which has a lot of money.
“Yeah, absolutely. Said it last night at the town hall. It’s good to have it out there now,” Cuomo agreed. But Conway didn't stop there. Before Cuomo could move on or expand, she jumped into one of Trump's favorite things to accuse CNN of—fake news. Cuomo was not having it.
“Kellyanne, I’m tired, so I apologize in advance,” he said. “A lot of this just doesn’t wash. All you need to know about the bump stock is that it was legal, and that’s what allowed him to lay down that field of fire. That’s all you need to know about it. There’s no thoughtful conversation to have about it.”
“Don’t cheapen what happened in Las Vegas,” he continued, as Conway tried to interrupt and put the onus back on Obama, though Trump is now in power and has made no move to outlaw bump stocks since Vegas.
“Oh no, no, no. Don’t go there,” she said.
“Oh I’m going to go there, my friend," said Cuomo. Yet, something about this exchange makes us think they aren't really friends.