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Does Trump Truly Support the Second Amendment?

Even if former President Trump fights off his legal troubles, history shows he is no true friend to the Second Amendment.

Does Trump Truly Support the Second Amendment?

Does Trump Truly Support the Second Amendment? (Russ Vance/Shutterstock)

Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a George Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney on charges that are clearly unprecedented and politically motivated. The man has been through attempt after attempt to politically persecute him that are transparent in their motivations: Remove him from the political equation, with special emphasis now on keeping him out of the running in the 2024 elections.

To stack that deck, the charges of “34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree” will be presided over by a Columbian-born left-wing activist judge who was a Joe Biden/ActBlue donor and whose daughter worked on Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign. Democrats mean to win it all, by hook or by crook. And the media, along with Swamp denizens of all political stripes, are there to help.

“The current indictment follows a long line of historic harassment of Trump, including the first incidence of two impeachments of a sitting president, the first impeachment trial of a president as a private citizen, and the first FBI armed raid of a retired president’s home, the first instance of an FBI director leaking confidential presidential conversations to the media for the purpose of appointing a special counsel to remove a president,” American classicist, military historian, and political commentator Victor Davis Hanson writes in American Greatness. “[Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s] prior boasts are reminiscent of Stalin’s secret police enforcer Lavrentiy Beria’s quip, ‘Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.’ Nancy Pelosi gave the game away, when in her dotage, she muttered that Trump had a right to prove his innocence as if he is presumed guilty.”

That all good Americans have a personal stake in seeing this travesty of justice exposed for what it is, and repelled, is obvious. That advocates for the right to keep and bear arms have a special interest in seeing this happen is even more so. In spite of all of Trump’s shallowness, flaws and outright betrayals of that right. And we can start with a recent revelation by award-winning journalist Emily Miller, where he declared “I don’t know why anyone needs an AR-15.” 

“As president, Donald Trump privately pushed for banning AR-15-type rifles... Trump was — and is — a big defender of Second Amendment rights,” Miller noted. “So the new revelation is surprising that he tried to renew the ‘assault weapon’ ban during his first two years in office.”

Is now really the time to talk about this?

If not now, when? 

This is not an exercise in piling on and kicking a man when he’s down, nor an invitation for the wrong-headed rebuttal common among those who still think the guy is some kind of Second Amendment 4D chess master, “Would you rather [insert Democrat gun-grabber here] were president instead?”

No, of course not. By the same token, we are not doing ourselves or those depending on us to stand for freedom any favors if we deliberately ignore Trump’s willful failures on guns. Because this is going to end one of two ways – strengthening his renewed bid for a return to the White House, or ending any chances of it. If he wins, we need to be able to collectively influence his 2A decisions and judicial appointments and get him to understand what the bad ones are before he makes them. If he loses, we need to be ready to do the same with whomever the Republicans nominate to carry the standard.

And we all need to realize that no politician is going to “save us.” You can’t outsource the duties of citizenship. We all need to be involved and use the aptitudes we have to join with others of like mind to advance our interests. Donald Trump has plenty of aptitudes and he is peerless in using those to advance his self-interests. That means he knows how to say the right things to appeal to those who can do something for him. Which other politician have you ever heard use the phrase “our beautiful Second Amendment”?

He’s great at talking the talk (until he’s not). Walking the walk is another thing entirely.

I took some heat for being naïve back in 2012 with a column “Trump could be [a] great friend if 'Second Amendment enthusiasm' is real.” I was reacting to a column by Emily Miller in The Washington Times where she’d sat down with Trump, got him to talk about his New York City concealed carry permit, reveal some of the guns he owns and decry “gun-free zones,” wherein she concluded “The Donald is a true Second Amendment enthusiast.”

“If only he were,” I wrote. “ The right to keep and bear arms movement could certainly benefit from a connected champion with the resources to help grassroots outreach efforts as a counter to Astroturf funding by foundations that anti-gun groups rely so heavily on. With Bloomberg acting as “a one-man counterweight to the NRA,” and with media bias documented ad nauseum, for decades, Trump joining with his countrymen and lending support to the ongoing fight for the right to keep and bear arms would be a welcome development from an appreciated ally.”

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Past statements raise flags of concern 

First off, his Big Apple permit was something available only to the connected, with the likes of Robert DeNiro, Howard Stern, and the publisher of the anti-gun The New York Times “qualifying.” As for owning guns, if that’s all it took, we’d have no better pals than Lon Horiuchi and David Chipman. Even perennial obnoxious lightweight David Hogg has a new “tweet” out where he’s shooting clays under the caption “F*** the NRA. I shoot. My family owns guns. They do NOT speak for us.”

On The Issues documented Trump’s attitude on guns that could politely be described as cognitively dissonant.

“I am against gun control,” he told the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. 

“The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions,” he wrote in 2000’s The America We Deserve. “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” 

“Over the past decade, Trump has given massive amounts of money not only to Democrats but the most liberal and most corrupt Democrats, such as Charles Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and Charlie Rangel,” former Congressman Tom Tancredo (himself a betrayer on guns following Columbine) wrote in 2011. “He has given $116,000 in recent years to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He supported John Kerry in 2004 and was a vocal critic of Bush's Iraq policy, even opposing the surge that turned the tide of war. On immigration, the NumbersUSA organization rates him at a ‘D minus, barely ahead of Obama.”

But people change, right?

“Potential GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and his daughter have donated ‘at least $105,000 to the Clinton Foundation,’ I wrote in 2015, quoting a report in The Hill.  “Contributions, per the Foundation website, ‘advance the work of any part of the Clinton Foundation, including the Clinton Global Initiative.’”

“That would be the same group behind the Clinton Global Citizen Award, presented to anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg by Vice President Joe Biden for being the ‘most fierce and most effective advocate that we have on the matter of gun sanity,’” I noted.

Fast forward to Donald Trump’s record on guns once he won the White House and had the power to advance “our beautiful Second Amendment.”

For a supposed true believer, Trump’s indifference to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to decry state level infringements reducing RKBA recognition to sub-foreign levels, did not go unnoticed.

Then there were problematic statements, such as his “Take the guns first, go through due process second” response to due process-denying “red flag laws.” Combine that with his call to raise the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21 and disparaging fear of NRA as an obstacle. “You’re afraid of the NRA,” Trump told Republican Senators at the time. “They have some great power over you, they don't have any power over me."

While not directly gun-related, Trump worked with “Rino” Paul Ryan against Republican conservatives to pressure them into supporting his “replacement” for Obamacare.

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” Trump tweeted.

Garnering Democrat praise, Trump nominated a nominally “Republican” Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge who had a record of anti-gun views.

Then there was the presidential memoranda he issued in that for many was a crossing of the Rubicon: “Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”

He nominated Christopher Wray, who had testified he “wouldn’t rule out commonsense gun reform legislation” to head the FBI. He appointed William Barr as Attorney General despite statements Barr had made supporting waiting periods and an “assault weapon” ban as “parts of a broader and more comprehensive crime bill.”

The White House website under Trump claimed “The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms.” Numerous attempts to have that corrected to say it acknowledges a preexisting right were ignored.

His (unsuccessful) nominee to lead ATF had been, when wearing his Fraternal Order of Police head cap, against nationwide concealed carry and “assault weapons, and for the confirmation of anti-gun Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Under Trump’s State Department, the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls continued to restrict the export of “high capacity magazines” (defined as those over 32 rounds) to government end use only.

Project Guardian, initiated by the Barr Justice Department under Trump not only did violence to the Constitution by presuming powers nowhere delegated in it, the “enforce existing gun laws” mantra is equivalent to a Founding-era Tory  advocating “Enforce existing Intolerable Acts.”

In a 2019 White House Q&A, Trump responded “I don’t like them at all” when asked if suppressors should be restricted. He repeated that assertion in a Piers Morgan interview, adding he’d “like to think about” banning them. When asked about his credit for banning bump stocks, he replied “I ended it.” And it would be remiss not to note that the act of empowering an agency to reclassify pieces of plastic as “machineguns” leaves open the door to do the same with semiautomatics, or to reclassify pistol stabilizing braces as “short barrel rifles.”

2020’s “Gun Owners for Trump,” like the Second Amendment Coalition headed by Donald Trump Jr. from four years earlier, like Macbeth’s “Tale told by an idiot” ended up being “full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.” 

Where to Now?

We have to see how things play out in court. If found guilty on felony charges, Trump will become one of those “prohibited persons” his Project Guardian would target over gun possession. If instead, as that idiot Nancy Pelosi tweeted, he can “prove innocence,” we’ll have to see what that does to his presidential campaign.

In any case, whether the GOP nominee turns out to be him or someone else, one thing is true: While most gun owners will end up holding their noses and voting “lesser of two evils,” a wise candidate knows that real inspiration, the kind that draws out campaign donations and volunteers necessary to win a campaign, does not come from insincere platitudes and subsequent actions that douse fire in bellies.

Gun owners need someone who deserves their belief. And that includes the ability to actually get a politician’s ear once he’s in power. And that means more than just the NRA, which essentially gave him the green light on special rules for “bump stocks,” as well as numerous other “compromises” it would take another article just to highlight. (Speaking of which, at this writing Trump is a confirmed speaker for the Annual Meeting Leadership Forum on April 14 in Indianapolis. Expect wild applause instead of skeptical questions about all the “gun control” he has supported over the years.)

An April 11 interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson  called attention to an issue of concern to many who want to support Trump’s stated agenda but fear his ego can be his own worst enemy. Saying he could never “hit” California Governor Gavin Newsom because “He was always very nice to me, said the greatest things. He would say things like, ‘He's doing a great job,’” ignores that Newsom is a committed enemy of the Second Amendment and would have no problem sending armed teams out to “hit” gun owners defying his disarmament edicts.

Whether Trump is capable of acknowledging these realities, or if that ego will keep him on the course of acting on impulse sure that his way is the only way, is problematic. 

“2020 is Trump's to Blow with Gun Owners,” I predicted before the last election. And while the unprecedented election irregularities Democrats and their media cheerleaders dismiss as “baseless” weren’t part of that prediction, any safeguards to keep them from happening again are hardly impregnable. The best case scenario, assuming Donald Trump wins in court and goes on to win the Republican nomination, the same prediction holds true for 2024.

Afterword

Per the Los Angeles Times reporting on the NRA Annual Meeting, "Former President Trump crowned himself as 'the most pro-gun, pro- 2nd Amendment president' in the nation’s history. 'I will be your loyal friend and fearless champion once again as the 47th president of the United States,' he told the crowd..."

Trump Gun Support
(Shutterstock/ Russ Vance)

And the crowd went wild…


About the Author

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. In addition to being a regular featured contributor for Firearms News  he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook. 


If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.




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