True to his habit while president of promising to protect the Second Amendment, Donald Trump told an enthusiastic audience at the NRA Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa., “Every single Biden attack on gun owners and manufacturers will be terminated on my very first week back in office, perhaps my first day.”
According to Fox News, Trump’s remarks came during the NRA Presidential Forum last Friday evening. During his time in office, Trump appeared at the NRA annual convention regularly. It was never an unfriendly audience. In all, Fox said the former president has spoken to NRA members at least eight times.
American gun owners are on the defensive, and have been since Joe Biden took office more than three years ago. The Delaware Democrat campaigned in 2020 on a restrictive gun control platform, and he has pushed his anti-gun agenda to the point of admitting to a CNN Townhall audience in 2021 he wanted to ban modern semi-automatic rifles and 9mm pistols. The Second Amendment Foundation has been running advertisements for more than a year, showcasing the acknowledgement.
According to WKOK News and the Associated Press, Trump told his audience, “During my four years nothing happened. And there was great pressure on me having to do with guns. We did nothing. We didn’t yield.”
The former president, now running to regain the Oval Office in November, promised those attending the forum their Second Amendment “will always be safe with me as your president.”
Comments such as this elicited fury from the gun prohibition lobby and their allies on Capitol Hill during Trump’s presidency. His nominations to fill some 300 federal court vacancies during his term further angered anti-gun liberals, especially his three appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all conservatives and all affirmative votes on the 2022 Bruen ruling which struck down New York State’s unconstitutional concealed carry permit law.
Trump’s appearance came as the NRA is suffering from a loss of members and their money as the result of a federal lawsuit and widespread reports about excessive spending and misuse of members’ money. Longtime Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre resigned/retired last month after three decades as head of the powerful organization. The New York Times on Monday reported on the ongoing trial in New York regarding allegations of mismanagement.
According to the Times report, “many” NRA members “lost trust in the organization and quit, which meant they also stopped paying their dues.” The Times article estimated more than 1 million members have left the organization since 2018, and revenue has dropped “more than 40 percent since 2016.”
All of this, combined with Biden’s very public attacks on gun owners’ rights, gives Trump plenty of traction when he talks about fidelity to the Second Amendment. It’s the message gun owners want, and need, to hear from someone running to replace Biden in January 2025.
If the fall election comes down to a rematch between Biden and Trump, American gun owners will be energized to vote, not only to boot Biden, but perhaps also to return Congress to Republican control. That could filter down to state legislative elections, in such states as Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, and even Washington and Oregon, where Democrat majorities have pushed through restrictive gun control laws over the past couple of years.