Since the election of Trump, there has been some good news for gun owners. Many people now feel that the assault on their Second Amendment rights, which reached its peak during the Obama years, has now eased somewhat.
This is, in a way, surprising, because Trump did not talk all that much about gun rights during his campaign speeches. Though backed by the NRA from the earliest days of his presidential run, gun issues were a little sidelined during the campaign.
In this context, the speech Trump gave to an NRA rally on Saturday was reassuring. He reached out to gun owners, telling them that they have a “true friend in the White House”, and that he would never “infringe” on the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.
“Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God”, he told the rally. Though typically vague as to how these welcome sentiments will translate into policy, messages like this are undoubtedly good news for those of us who value out rights to own and carry firearms.
Trump is the first sitting president to address a major NRA forum since Ronald Reagan in 1983, and this too is welcome. It is clear that he wants to talk directly to those of us in the gun enthusiast community, and such dialogue can only lead to a more harmonious relationship with government.
It was also clear that Trump feels a debt of gratitude to the NRA, and the gun community more widely, for their initial and continued support for his administration. “You came through for me, and I am going to come through for you”, he said. According to media reports, the NRA gave the Trump campaign some $30.3 million.
Though Trump only raised gun issues in passing during his election campaign, it is clear that the new administration is taking a more laissex faire attitude towards gun ownership, especially in comparison to the draconian measures that the Obama administration tried to put into effect.
The administration has already taken some measures to roll back or block restrictions on gun ownership and use, as I have written about over the past few weeks. In general, these actions have been taken in consultation with local lawmakers in the states involved, and I hope that this new spirit of compromise will continue, whilst also aware that we have a long way to go.
A case in point is that a few blocks away from the convention, protesters gathered to honor the victims of gun violence, and to counter what they called the “guns everywhere” agenda of the NRA.
Whilst the fact that Trump is making a real effort to talk directly to gun owners is only to be welcomed, it is only by dialogue with protesters like these that we in the gun enthusiast community can hope to protect our Second Amendment rights.
Having an administration friendly to our concerns is, in short, not enough. Whilst Trump’s words seem to echo our own priorities, we should also pay close attention to what the still-new administration actually does.