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The Trump Effect

The Trump Effect

If you’re reading this magazine, it tells me something about you. As an America’s 1st Freedom reader, you are among the most politically astute and politically active of NRA members—proven supporters of the Second Amendment. There’s no doubt you have stood in the trenches fighting for our freedom on many occasions, and there’s no doubt you are ready to do so again.

That’s especially important at this very moment. Right now, you—along with other NRA members—are all that stand between our precious liberties and an all-out onslaught on our freedom should gun-banners achieve victory in November’s all-important election.

Despite what you might hear in the so-called “mainstream” media, President Donald Trump has done great things to turn the tide back in favor of America’s law-abiding gun owners, following eight years of Barack Obama’s anti-gun regime. With nothing but roadblocks from so-called progressives and a Trump-hating media, he has turned back anti-gun executive orders, helped push forward pro-gun plans and legislation, and appointed federal judges—from the lower courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court—that will protect the Constitution and the Second Amendment.

Most recently, he made another outstanding choice in nominating Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. Not surprisingly, Kavanaugh has an impressive record that demonstrates his strong support for the Second Amendment. Is it any wonder he is so hated by the liberal and socialist Left?

While Trump’s appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court have been the most visible, an even bigger impact will likely be made by the judges he has appointed to lower federal courts across the land. To date, the president has appointed nearly 150 federal judges, most of them to the U.S. Court of Appeals and U.S. District Courts. About 50 of those appointees have been confirmed, leaving nearly 100 yet to be considered by the U.S. Senate. Like Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, the vast majority of these men and women believe in upholding the Constitution. In effect, in just two years, the president has already reshaped the courts for a generation. Imagine the long-term effect if Hillary Clinton had been able to make these appointments! 

In truth, judges are only the tip of the iceberg on what has been accomplished to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Trump hadn’t been in office for two months when he signed legislation repealing Obama’s last-ditch slap in the face to some gun owners on Social Security.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) rulemaking was issued in the waning weeks of Obama’s presidency, and it targeted those receiving disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income based on SSA’s listed mental disorders and who were appointed a “representative payee” to help them manage their benefits. The agency—for the first time in its history—sought to portray these individuals as “mental defectives” who were prohibited from acquiring or possessing firearms under federal law. It had planned to notify them of their prohibited status and to report them to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Note that accomplishments during the Trump administration are just part of the equation. Along with what law-abiding gun owners have accomplished under Trump, what we have avoided is similarly important—and impressive.

Making matters worse, the beneficiaries would have had no ability to argue about their suitability to possess firearms before their rights were lost. Instead, they would have been reduced to filing a petition for “restoration” of their rights. Congress and Trump saw through the ruse and immediately rescinded the ruling.

The bureaucratic tone concerning the federal government’s restriction on the sale of firearm suppressors also quickly changed under the new Trump administration. Less than a month after he took office, a “white paper” written by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Associate Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Ronald Turk outlined several changes that ATF could make to decrease the burdens placed on gun owners and the firearm industry while maintaining public safety.

Titled “Options to Reduce or Modify Firearms Regulations” and dated Jan. 20, 2017, the document covered a raft of issues that NRA has previously worked to address, and it vindicated NRA’s long-held contentions about the dubious efficacy of many firearm regulations.

While failing to address some concerns of gun owners regarding the strict regulation of suppressors, the document correctly concluded: “There are many regulatory changes or modifications that can be made by or through ATF that would have an immediate, positive impact on commerce and industry without significantly hindering ATF’s mission or adversely affecting public safety.”

America’s hunters have also found their position greatly strengthened under the Trump administration. That began when Trump appointed Ryan Zinke to be secretary of the Interior.

As head of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Zinke quickly lifted the Obama administration’s ban on traditional ammunition on federal lands. Since then, he hasn’t slowed down a bit. His many other accomplishments benefitting hunters include expanding hunter and angler access to fish and wildlife refuges and other federal lands; issuing a secretarial order improving access to federal lands; forging a number of new agency efforts to encourage veteran hunting and fishing programs; creating the much-needed International Wildlife Conservation Council that will advise the department on international conservation issues; and prioritizing big-game corridor habitat improvement and management.

Additionally, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox was selected to represent the nearly 6 million members of the NRA on a newly formed panel that will advise the Trump administration on public land use policies concerning hunting and recreational shooting.

Trump has even worked to make it possible for law-abiding Americans to own a piece of history, through the acquisition of highly sought-after vintage firearms. Last year the president signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA). Included in the law is a provision that would require military surplus M1911/M1911A1 pistols (1911s) to be made available for sale to the American public. The military currently has some 100,000 excess 1911s sitting in storage at taxpayer expense.

Note that accomplishments during the Trump administration are just part of the equation. Along with what law-abiding gun owners have accomplished under Trump, what we have avoided is similarly important—and impressive.

Regarding the flurry of ill-conceived anti-gun legislation introduced in the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting—ranging from complete bans on some categories of guns to raising the age for legal gun purchasers—gun owners have, with the help of Congress and the president, effectively blunted the movement.

Consider this, though: Is there any doubt, had Democrats been in control of the House and Senate, and Hillary Clinton been president, that anti-gun law after law would have been rushed through, leaving the Second Amendment, and American gun owners, seriously crippled if not completely defeated? That’s a painful question to consider, but it’s an easy one to answer. 

Through all of Trump’s successes, you can be sure about one thing: There are many who would dismantle all his progress and immediately put us back on an Obama-like path of “fundamentally changing America” for the worse. They want to put an end to the “Trump Effect” after only two years. All they need is to win a majority in the U.S. House or U.S. Senate on Election Day.

As I said in a recent “Freedom’s Safest Place” video, 150 million people around the world would drop everything to come here if they could, because they desperately want what so many of our leaders seek to destroy—the freedom to speak your mind, worship your God, build a business, leave a legacy, and defend your life and your loved ones. These are the basic building blocks of the American dream, an idea that still captivates human hearts like nothing else.

In this time of such uncertainty and doubt, we must hold fast to the principles of freedom. For it is with these timeless ideals—and not the elites who scorn them—that the hope of mankind still rests.

As keepers of freedom’s flame, it is incumbent upon us—NRA members and all law-abiding gun owners—to ensure the “Trump Effect” isn’t relegated to history after only two years. While many accomplishments have been made, many opportunities still lie before us.

Consider the importance of national Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which has largely been put on the back burner since the recent flurry of anti-gun activity. Has the injustice of lawful concealed carriers becoming criminals simply by crossing a state line into a less gun-friendly jurisdiction changed because of further criminal misuse of firearms? Absolutely not! Your fundamental right to keep and bear arms should not end at the state line. This legislation would ensure that law-abiding citizens do not forfeit their ability to protect themselves as they travel from state to state.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed the house last December, but it stalled in the Senate. It’s not hard to imagine what could happen to this critical legislation should Democrats win the House, Senate or both.

Important legislation to deregulate firearm suppressors could face a similar fate. The Hearing Protection Act sought to protect the hearing of hunters and shooters, but anti-gun advocates have invented all kinds of lies about such devices. The reality is that suppressors make the sound of a gunshot manageable. Suppressors remove the sharp, ear-splitting sound of a gunshot without removing the sound of the shot altogether. In so doing, they enable target shooters, hunters and sportsmen to shoot without damaging their hearing.

Passage of this measure is likely within our reach in the next few years. But not without majorities in the House and Senate.

Another important legislative priority also relies on our success during this midterm election—“sporting purpose” reform. The Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act, introduced in the House last year, would remove ATF’s authority to use the “sporting purposes” clauses in federal law in ways that could undermine the core purpose of the Second Amendment. Under the legislation, all lawful purposes—including self-defense—would have to be given due consideration and respect in the administration of federal firearms law.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the core purpose of the Second Amendment is self-defense. Nevertheless, many federal laws that regulate the importation, possession and transfer of firearms measure the lawful utility of firearms based on their usefulness for so-called “sporting purposes.”   

It’s possible that we can accomplish some—even all—of these goals in the near future. On the other hand, it’s also possible that the “Trump Effect” could grind to an immediate halt.

Now is the time when we must all work together, harder than ever before, to recruit more members to the cause of freedom. Now is the time we must all encourage each one of our friends and family members to increase their support for the Association. Now is the time we cannot afford to waiver in our support of our God-given rights.

But most importantly, now is the time we must all get out and Vote Freedom First on Election Day. And we must get as many of our family members and friends as we can to join us and cast their critical votes.

It won’t be easy to retain control of both the Senate and House, thereby giving Trump the opportunity to continue his phenomenal success at “making America great again.” But with your help, we’ll make it happen once more.

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