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Rep. Tom Cole: Trump's gun comments created unneeded uncertainty


Oklahoma congressman says Congress can clearly strengthen background checks and ban bump stocks; insight about the gun debate on ‘Your World.’
This is a rush transcript from “Your World,” March 2,2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I’m a fan of the NRA. There’s no bigger fan. I’m a big fan of the NRA. They want to do it.
These are great people. These are great patriots. They love our country. But that doesn’t mean we agree on everything. It doesn’t make sense that I have to wait until I’m 21 to get a handgun, but I can get this weapon at 18. I don’t know. So, I was just curious as what you did in your bill.
TRUMP: You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA. Right?
NEIL CAVUTO, “YOUR WORLD” HOST: All right. That did not sit well with Pennsylvania Republic Pat Toomey. And it did not sit well with a number of Republicans, who didn’t like the president saying that, as a party, maybe and other congressmen as well, are afraid of the NRA, afraid to take on the NRA.
Oklahoma Republican Congressman Tom Cole is one of them.
You didn’t like that, did you?
REP. TOM COLE, R-OKLAHOMA: Well, look, I just think it created some uncertainty whether they didn’t need to be any.
We are going to clearly be able to pass a background check improvement. And that’s a good thing. We’re clearly all lined up against bump stocks, NRA included on both those issues, by the way. And that’s a good thing.
And I think most of us, at least on the Republican side, think we need to take measures literally as the president suggested to harden the targets, that is, to make schools and school personnel better able to resist a random act of insane violence like this.
So, we have got a lot more in common than we do that divides us. We ought to work on those things and see what we can do to address the problem.
CAVUTO: The due process thing with the president, where he would just take your gun first, that didn’t sit well with many in that room, including some Democrats, who thought it was a bit extreme, in other words, take guns, deal with due process later.
COLE: Well, I wouldn’t have put it that way.
Now, there are — there is legislation to allow immediate intervention if police think there’s a dangerous situation. It’s been passed at the state level in several places. Things like that are worth considering.
And certainly if you know you have made a mistake — look, in this case, there were massive failures. It’s not a matter what the law was, when 39 times local police officers are coming to intervene with the a particular individual, when you have got credible tips to the federal law enforcement people that the this guy needs to be checked because we think something’s about to happen.
That was a huge failure. And legislation had nothing to do with it. So you got to look at implementation as well.
CAVUTO: Do you sense that the opportunity is still there, Congressman, to get meaningful reform done?
The president threw this out there I think as much, and some of these other ideas that would normally be anathema to many in your party, to get more debate going and to sort of crack down on sacred cows.
What do you make of that?
COLE: Well, I think when there is a great opportunity.
Look, the House has already passed the Cornyn bill, the so called Fix NICS bill. And we also put some things with it Democrats might not like, concealed carry reciprocity. But the point is, we can do this one way or another. They can pass just a background check. We will go to conference, work out the differences. That can be done.
The president — we have bump stocks were made legal by administrative action in the Obama administration.
CAVUTO: So, can he make them with the swipe of a pen — I just want to be clear on this process. He say he’s going to issue an order — I think that was the gist of it out — and end that.
COLE: I personally believe he can. There are others that are very well- informed that think it will take a law.
Either way, there’s overwhelming consensus to do it. So if we need to do both to make sure, that would be fine by me. So, again, I think actually Leader McConnell had it pretty good last week. Let’s focus on — earlier this week — let’s focus on the things we agree on, and start getting those things done.
And let’s also remember we have partners here. Look, state governments are free to do an awful lot themselves. We’re seeing that happening in Florida right now and probably it will happen in other states as well.
So it’s going to take a concerted effort. But let’s just start doing the things we agree on. We will get a long way down the road.
CAVUTO: The president has espoused positions that typically are not those of a Republican president on the gun issue that you have got into, Congressman, also on these trade tariffs that many in your party and others are concerned about.
Look, I think this is a president that delivered to the largest tax cut in a generation, who is involved in the largest defense buildup since the 1980s, who has done more to deregulate the economy than any president in decades.
So he’s an unconventional president. He doesn’t always agree. He’s not a party-line Republican. I actually respect that. And I think that’s one of the reasons he got elected.
But on the broad issues, actually, he’s governed very much like a traditional Republican. And he’s delivered I think big time for the American people.
CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very, very much. We appreciate it.
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