By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Bucshon's town halls

Here are your Thursday power lunch talking points: Give U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon credit for conducting a series of town halls across the 8th CD this week. It's part of a congressman's job, to listen to constituents in a public setting. If a congressman or woman isn't prepared to do this kind of outreach; is afraid of the constituency, perhaps they are in the wrong line of work. Proponents and adversaries show up to ask questions, applaud if they like the answers and boo if they don't. Bucshon has a new twist, giving attendees green and red cards that can be flashed when folks agree or disagree with a point. The Terre Haute Tribune-Star's  Alex Modesitt reported the town hall in his city Wednesday night some times resembled a Christmas tree. 

Bucshon was asked about the epidemic of mass shootings afflicting and unnerving America  these days. On background checks, Bucshon said: “First of all, you cannot legally buy a firearm from any federally licensed dealer without getting a background check. You can’t buy one from a dealer on the internet or at a gun show without getting one. The only way you can legally purchase a gun without a background check is through a private sale. ... And to be clear, none of these shootings would have changed if the background checks were any different.” Bucshon added, with Modesitt reporting "much to the chagrin of many in attendance," that nothing short of repealing the 2nd Amendment  and sending federal agents door to door to collect guns would be enough to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. “Everybody wants these shootings to stop,” Bucshon said. “But look at the shooting we just had in Philadelphia where they guy who used an AR-15 had a 30-page-long rap sheet. He didn’t go to the gun shop to buy that AR-15."

Sooooo ... are we to just accept the virtual guerrilla warfare that has gripped our nation? 

2. Parkland student proposal

March for Our Lives, the group that sprang up after the Parkland, Fla., massacre, has proposed “A Peace Plan for a Safer America.” Key components: It would create a national licensing and gun registry; ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; implement a mandatory gun buyback program; and install a “national director of gun violence prevention” who would report directly to the president; raise the gun purchase age from 18 to 21, and create a federal “multi-step” gun licensing system that would include in-person interviews and a 10-day wait before gun purchases are approved. The license would be renewed annually. March for Out Lives has more than 100 chapters and has spent the past year registering new voters.

3. What happened to the Tea Party?

Speaking of town halls, whatever happened to Rick Santelli? In February 2009 the CNBC reporter launched what effectively became the "Tea Party" on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. While it was in reaction to President Obama's stimulus package, it became a rallying organization for conservatives fretting massive federal debt and budget deficits. Early proponents included Mike Pence and Todd Young. On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that federal deficits will grow by $1.7 trillion between 2020 and 2029. This comes on Vice President Pence and Sen. Young's watch. They no longer have any fiscal credibility. Wall Street Journal: In total, deficits are now expected to rise $809 billion more  than the agency projected just a few months ago, bringing total deficits over the next decade to $12.2 trillion. “The nation’s fiscal outlook is challenging,” CBO Director Phillip Swagel said. “To put it on a sustainable course, lawmakers will have to make significant changes to tax and spending policies — making revenues larger than they would be under current law, reducing spending below projected accounts, or adopting some combination of those approaches.” HPI: The deficit hawks are silent. The Baby Boom is in full retirement and Mitch Daniels "red menace" still lurks.

4. Honor and the 'chosen one'

Sometimes we just let comments speak for themselves. On Wednesday, President Trump talked of his unilateral trade war with China and said, "I am the chosen one," before turning and looking up toward the heavens. Later at a Louisville AMVET appearance, President Trump awarded a Medal of Honor to Woody Williams, then said, "Nothing like the Medal of Honor. I wanted one, but they told me I don't qualify, Woody. I said, 'Can I give it to myself anyway?'  They said, 'I don't think that's a good idea.'”

5. That Trump/Pence ticket

Right after the 2918 mid-term elections, President Trump made it clear he will seek reelection with Vice President Pence. On June 19, Trump said that it's "100 percent" he will run with Pence. On Sunday, Trump again reaffirmed he will run with Pence: “I’m very happy with Mike Pence.” On Wednesday, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley dismissed specualtion that she will run with Trump. "Enough of the false rumors. Vice President Pence has been a dear friend of mine for years. He has been a loyal and trustworthy VP to the President. He has my complete support." But ... we wonder ... why does this topic keep coming up?

Thanks for reading, folks. It's The Atomic!