Senate conservatives are warning President Trump and their own leaders to tread carefully in the gun-control debate and caution they risk a political backlash by striking a deal with Democrats to expand background checks for firearms sales.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday said if Republicans strike a deal with Democrats to require all firearms sales over the Internet or at gun shows to go through background checks, they would demoralize their conservative base ahead of next year’s presidential election.
“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,” Cruz said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, referring to the liberal Democrat from Massachusetts who is running for president.
“We’re going to see record-shattering Democratic turnout. The only element missing to ensure Democratic victory is demoralizing conservatives so they stay home. I hope we don’t do that,” Cruz said in response to a question about the reaction from conservatives if Trump signs onto a bill similar to the 2013 gun-control amendment sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).