It’s often argued that the American murder rate is high because guns are more available here than in other countries. Democrats want to confiscate all guns, which is a dumb idea because only the law-abiding citizens would turn in their guns and the bad guys would be the only ones left armed. The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions.
And there’s this:
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. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.
Fifteen years ago, Donald Trump’s two oldest sons were 22 and 16. Both of them are ardent hunters and Second Amendment supporters. Trump says that they have become his most trusted source for information on gun issues. It seems that they have educated him on some of the finer points of the gun debate.
In 2012, Donald defended their right to hunt, even though he is not a hunter.
Their father does not share the views of his sons, and the elder Donald told TMZ that ‘My sons love hunting. They’re hunters and they’ve become good at it. I am not a believer in hunting and I’m surprised they like it.’
‘I know that anything they did was 100% OK in terms of the hunting community,’ Mr Trump continued.
The star of “Celebrity Apprentice” said he owns a “H&K .45 and a .38 Smith & Wesson.”
Asked about the gun-control measures being pushed by people like New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mr. Trump said that, “The way I view it, if nobody has guns, then only the bad guys have them. And they aren’t giving up their guns.”
I mentioned the dangers of gun-free zones like Washington, D.C. and, largely, Manhattan because of all the red tape it takes to exercise the right to bear arms.
Mr. Trump said an example of this was seen in the Aurora, Colo. shooting. “If some of the people in the movie theater had a gun, they’d have been shooting at him. Nobody had a gun so they were totally defenseless.”
The Donald is a true Second Amendment enthusiast.
In January of 2014, The Donald was considering a run for Governor of New York. He invited some Second Amendment supporters to his penthouse. From politicsny.net:
I was pleased to discover Mr. Trump is a strong defender of our Second Amendment rights – and his two boys are firearms enthusiasts.
Polls showed that New York gun owners hate the SAFE Act, but that most Empire State voters approved of it:
Although the law is wildly unpopular with gun enthusiasts, it is supported by a majority of New Yorkers, polls show. A recent Siena Poll found that 63% of state voters back the SAFE Act and 32% oppose it.
Trump didn’t follow the polls. He spoke at rallies and condemned the SAFE Act at every turn. The SAFE Act severely restricts so-called “assault weapons.”
Here is Trump on the SAFE Act in March of 2014:
“You have the SAFE Act, which is a total catastrophe. It’s hard to believe it even got passed. Look, you’re sitting at home and a bad guy walks in with a gun. At least you want to have a shot at it, right? You don’t want to be defenseless… But this SAFE Act is a disaster. Whoever ultimately is going to be the nominee for the Republicans, they better bring it up very loud and clear because that act is a catastrophe. I call it the unSAFE Act.”
From an April 2014 rally in Albany against the SAFE Act:
“You have the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You have that right and they want to take it away,” Trump said. “And they are taking it away, slowly but surely, they are taking it away.”
Trump’s thinking seems to have changed. Fifteen years of exposure to two respected sons that are Second Amendment enthusiasts might have done that.
There are several themes that are clear from Donald Trump’s statements on the Second Amendment. First, he strongly associates the Second Amendment with self defense. That’s in opposition to nearly all anti-gunners. In the Heller decision of 2008, the Supreme Court Decision held that the Second Amendment applied to self defense. Anti-gunners dismiss Heller as nonsense.
Second, Trump has always said that gun control laws will only disarm the good guys. The bad guys will then be the only ones with guns. Again, this is an enormous departure from the anti-gun position. They never concede that point, because it undermines their whole argument.
Third, Trump now appears to understand that the anti-gunners’ game is incremental degradation of the right to keep and bear arms. This shows a much greater understanding of the topic than he had back in 2000. From the video, starting about 6:10:
What does the Second Amendment mean to you?
“Above all, Protection, and these people that want to chop it down, knock it down, decapitate it, it shouldn’t be allowed should never be allowed. Let me tell you, if I run, if I win it is protected.”
In this video from the NRA meeting, Trump introduces his sons and repeats the themes that he has since built on about the Second Amendment, the Iranian nuclear deal, ISIS, and Immigration.
AmmoLand interviewed Trump in July of 2015:
AmmoLand: The deceptive term “Assault Weapons” has proven to be a buzz word among the anti-gun media. Back in 2000 in your book “The America We Deserve” you wrote “The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse to even limited restrictions. I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.” Since that time the AR15 rifle, what the media calls an “assault weapons“, has become America’s most popular firearm with millions and millions of them owned by good people.
Do you still stand by this quote or has your thinking evolved over the 15 years since you wrote that line?
Trump: I certainly stand by my opposition to Gun Control when it comes to taking guns from law-abiding citizens. You mention that the media describes the AR-15 as an “assault rifle,” which is one example of the many distortions they use to sell their agenda. However, the AR-15 does not fall under this category. Gun-banners are unfortunately preoccupied with the AR-15, magazine capacity, grips, and other aesthetics, precisely because of its popularity.
To the Left every gun is an assault weapon.
Gun control does not reduce crime. It has consistently failed to stop violence. Americans are entitled to protect their families, their property and themselves. In fact, in right-to-carry states the violent crime rate is 24% lower than the rest of the United States and the murder rate is 28% lower. This should not be up for debate.
Trump has clearly changed his views on “assault weapons” and “waiting periods” Here is what he told Ammoland about “background checks”:
I do not support expanding background checks. The current background checks do not work.
They make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to acquire firearms while consistently failing to stop criminals from getting guns. We should re-examine our policy to make sure that these prohibitions do not impede law abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
The entire interview is well worth reading.
Has Donald Trump changed his views about the Second Amendment? It seems that his views have evolved through education. Fifteen years ago, he likely had a murkier understanding of what “assault weapons” were. He didn’t know how ineffective the current background check system is.
However he always believed that the Second Amendment applied to self defense, and that disarming good guys would leave the bad guys armed.
That makes him a bit different from most of the political pack.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.