Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Sunday the current proposals being debated to change the nation’s gun laws do not pose a risk to the Second Amendment.
“We’ve had background checks, we know that they’re constitutional. I think that increasing them to include additional transactions would not threaten the Second Amendment,” he told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
The calls for change come after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine’s Day. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who was expelled from the school, allegedly entered the building and killed 17 people, mostly students, with an AR-15. Cruz, who legally obtained the weapon, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and is being held without bail.
“I think an assault weapons ban, I’m not talking about all semi-automatic weapons, but an assault weapons ban—we’ve had it before and it expired,” Gonzales, who served under former President George W. Bush, said. “That, I don’t believe, threatens the Second Amendment. It’s not unconstitutional.”
Following the massacre, President Trump discussed potential gun control measures, including banning bump stocks and raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, though the White House later clarified that the president was talking about semi-automatic weapons.
These views have been scrutinized by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which opposes raising the minimum age, though the organization’s spokeswoman Dana Loesch said there was no contention with Trump.
“I know that people are trying to find daylight between President Trump and 5 million law-abiding gun owners and law-abiding gun owners all across the United States,” she said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
The president has also called for stronger and more thorough background checks, with a focus on mental health, as well as arming certain educators and other “trusted people” who work within schools and are “firearm adept” and receive annual training.
“I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue - I hope!” Trump tweeted last week.
Gonzales echoed the president’s views on checking mental health records, and stressed more responsible gun ownership—both which he believes will not affect the rights granted to Americans under the Second Amendment.
“There are many things being discussed today that I don’t think raise a constitutional issue,” he said. Now obviously the question is whether or not … do we have the political will to get something passed to try to make our schools a little bit more safer.”