The Note: Trump can’t avoid talking about guns after Vegas shooting

THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein

The White House is seeking to close out discussion on gun control after Las Vegas in the now-predictable way. “There’s a time and place for a political debate,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, making clear that the president thinks this is neither of those things. But why not have policymakers debate policy while everyone is thinking about the issues? (And does anyone think President Trump would show the same reticence if the killer was, say, an undocumented immigrant, or a refugee from a majority-Muslim country?) Few would argue that Washington is likely to actually *make* new policy, given the NRA’s presumed – if not recently proven – mastery of Congress, and Trump’s likely veto. Still, if new gun laws, such as making it easier to buy silencers, are worthy of debate, the argument that the issue is permanently closed fades away. Democrats may not want to take this on while the party struggles with its yawning cultural gap, but there are signs that this time might be different. To see Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden join this fray along with a generation of younger Democratic leaders is to remember the emotional and political scars of Sandy Hook. Gun control is a rare issue that could let the opposition to Trump break through the presidential news and noise machine. The gubernatorial race in Virginia – only a month away, in the state where the NRA is headquartered – could be an interesting test case. Plus, you can’t change a national discussion you never have.

CRUCIAL QUESTIONS ON PUERTO RICO

Puerto Rico’s recovery cannot happen in a vacuum, and it’s not just about how much empathy President Trump shows in less than six hours on the ground. In addition to the visible destruction, Hurricane Maria unearthed long-waiting, big questions about what’s next for the island territory. What is the appropriate level of oversight and control of the congressionally appointed board of advisers tasked with managing Puerto Rico’s debt? Should some of its authority be waived in emergencies to give more control to local authorities? Is more debt justifiable in the wake of such a crisis? Should some debt be forgiven or absorbed by the United States? Politically, how will the country respond to the fact that a super majority of Puerto Ricans say, time and time again, that they would like to be a 51st state? There are tough questions about identity, governance and the territory’s future lurking in the floodwaters, questions as real and potentially explosive as the downed power lines, ABC News’ MaryAlice Parks notes.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • The president and first lady head to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico today as the island’s water, fuel and food supplies are still crippled two weeks after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The Trumps will meet victims of the hurricane and get a briefing on relief efforts.
  • Gun control: The debate Republicans and the White House don’t want to have following the Las Vegas mass shooting, but Vice President Joe Biden, Gabby Giffords, Democratic members of Congress (including Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy who told Congress to “get off its a—”) and gun control groups are demanding action.
  • White House officials are reviewing a third email account connected to White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, two senior level sources told ABC News.
  • One of the biggest election law cases in decades: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in a case on partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin.
  • No longer deferring action on DACA, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing today on the immigration policy the Trump administration decided to wind down.
  • QUOTE OF THE DAY

    “Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bonds cannot be broken by violence. And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today — and always will, forever.” —President Trump on Las Vegas shooting

    NEED TO READ

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    Las Vegas shooting spotlights pair of bills that would lift gun restrictions. Following Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in U.S. history, gun control advocates are criticizing a pair of bills in Congress that would limit restrictions on silencers and nationalize concealed carry laws. The House has no plans for a vote on either measure, but here’s a closer look at the proposals and where they stand. http://abcn.ws/2xVVhbh

    Jimmy Kimmel calls out Congress over inaction on gun control, says lawmakers are in NRA’s pocket. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel on Monday ripped into Congress for being in the pocket of the NRA, one day after 59 people were killed in a shooting in Las Vegas. Kimmel, who grew up in Las Vegas, specifically went after President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in a direct call for action on gun control: “They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.” http://abcn.ws/2yUxruy

    Facebook turns over thousands of Russia-linked ads to Congress. Facebook turned over more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads to congressional investigators Monday. The social media company was expected to provide the advertisements to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which are all investigating Russian election interference. http://abcn.ws/2xS6EAK

    Supreme Court to weigh political gerrymandering, other high-stakes cases. The Supreme Court began a new term that will be packed with high-stakes cases on issues, from partisan gerrymandering to whether private outfits such as a bakery can refuse service to same-sex couples. Also to come before the court is a case about dues-paying to public sector unions. This term will be the first full one for the court’s newest member, Justice Neil Gorsuch. Here are the big cases we’ll be watching. http://abcn.ws/2yDmMDH

    Muslim advocates, legal org file suits over travel ban. The Associated Press

    At least 2 Democrats boycott moment of silence for Las Vegas shooting. CBS News

    DeVos’ security detail could cost up to $6.54M over the next year. Politico

    E.P.A. chief’s calendar: A stream of industry meetings and trips home. The New York Times

    Op-ed: Country music will help America heal after Las Vegas. CNN

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