Rove: Dems must ‘stop scaring’ gun owners

GOP strategist and fundraiser Karl Rove on Sunday said Democrats needed to “stop scaring people” about gun control if they wanted to pass bipartisan measures to stem gun violence.

Rove pointed to the debate over instituting background checks and said that Democrats were overreaching and pushing away gun owners eager for a bipartisan solution.

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“This was prompted by the Sandy Hook murders. Those guns were legally purchased with a background check. This would not have solved something like that,” said Rove in a panel discussion on ABC’s “This Week.” “Let's be very careful about quickly trampling on the rights of people who — and look, you want to get something done? Then stop scaring people.”

Rove said that there could be “mutual agreement” on many issues, including closing so-called gun show loopholes, but that heated Democratic rhetoric in the gun control debate had frightened many gun owners that confiscation was the next step.

“If you say should we keep the mentally ill and the — and the criminals from getting guns, everybody would say yes. But that's not what this is about,” said Rove. “We're talking about, in this instance, having a registry where if a grandfather wants to give a treasured shotgun to his grandson, or granddaughter, he has to register with the government and go and get approval as the government to give that gun to his grandchild.

“Sen. [Charles] Schumer [(D-N.Y.)] for some reason or another, insists upon keeping a registry of guns. Now, if there's one thing that scares a lot of people who believe in the Second Amendment, [it's] the federal government keeping a national registry of gun sales, and gun purchasers, and gun owners,” Rove continued.

Questioned on that stance by ABC reporter Terry Moran, who said the gun lobby was frightening its own supporters, Rove said such fears were “not paranoia.”

“People have a fear of this. Why do it? Why do you need it?,” said Rove.

The Senate is expected to vote on a gun control bill when lawmakers return from Easter recess in April. Included in that bill is a measure to implement universal background checks on all private firearm sales. That legislation was introduced by Schumer after bipartisan talks on a background check bill collapsed. 

Republicans in negotiations objected to measures they felt could lead to the creation of a federal database of gun owners and language they feared could cover the transfer of weapons between family members.

Rove on Sunday suggested there was support for background check legislation, but that Democratic proposals reached too far.

“We could probably get agreement on a widespread basis of people saying, 'look, you go to a gun show, you walk in, you get, you pass a check ... you get your little stub that allows you to purchase a weapon, and that's it.' But this goes far beyond that,” he said.