Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited the National Rifle Association Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Louisville, Ky., on Friday and was greeted by an endorsement from the world’s oldest civil rights organization.
In introducing Trump, Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, unexpectedly announced the Association’s unequivocal support of the candidate.
“We have to unite, and we have to unite right now,” Cox told the thousands gathered at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum. “So on behalf of the thousands of patriots in this room and the five million NRA members across this country, and the tens of millions who support us, I'm officially announcing the NRA's endorsement of Donald Trump for president.”
Trump, who was not aware that the endorsement would be made before he made his much-anticipated speech, received it with great enthusiasm.
“I did not know that (I was getting the NRA endorsement),” Trump said. “I knew I was doing well, but I did not know that. To get this endorsement, believe me, is a fantastic honor.”
Trump and NRA members have a mutual political enemy in Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, who on many occasions has voiced her disdain for the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.
“Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said. “We’re not talking about changing it. She wants to abolish the Second Amendment.
“We’re not going to let that happen, I can tell you that!”“Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment. We’re not talking about changing it. She wants to abolish the Second Amendment.” — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump
Further discussing Clinton’s stance on firearm ownership, Trump discussed the importance of the next president in appointing nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court, where a narrow pro-gun majority was lost with this spring’s death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“I can’t stress this in any stronger fashion, whoever the next president is will appoint from three to five judges,” Trump said. “And if it’s Hillary, she will, as part of it, abolish the Second Amendment.”
Trump said Clinton’s efforts to further restrict rights of law-abiding Americans actually amounts to a campaign that greatly endangers women.
“Hillary wants to disarm vulnerable Americans in high-crime neighborhoods,” he said. “She wants to take away any chance they have of survival. That’s why we’re going to call her ‘Heartless Hillary.’
“In trying to overturn the Second Amendment, Hillary Clinton is telling every woman living in a dangerous community that she doesn’t have the right to defend herself. That is so unfair, and that is so egregious.”
Trump, who released a list of possible Supreme Court nominees earlier this week, said his list was vetted by several watchdog organizations and consists of individuals who will always uphold the Constitution.
“I’d like to call for Hillary Clinton to put together a list also,” Trump said. “Because I’d like to see what that list consists of. And you will see that it’s day and night. It won’t be good for the people in this room. And it won’t be good for our country.”
In addressing many issues central to his campaign—immigration, jobs, trade and military preparedness—Trump repeatedly returned to the Second Amendment and the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. He pointed to last year’s terror attacks in Paris, where 130 unarmed people were brutally murdered, as an example of how gun-free zones only make people less safe.
“These guys came in, just stood there and shot everybody,” Trump said. “If you would have had guns on the other side, I promise there wouldn’t have been 130 people killed and hundreds lying in the hospital to this day. There would have been bullets going the other way, and the carnage would not have been the same by any stretch of the imagination.
“We’re going to get rid of gun-free zones.”
Trump wrapped up his address with a promise to always be a solid supporter of the the individual right to keep and bear arms.
“The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November,” Trump concluded. “The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person that you all know—named Donald trump. I will never let you down! I will protect our Second Amendment! I will protect our country!”