Onstage at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the onerous United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), signed by Barack Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013.
Democrat presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., wants to ban ownership of common semi-automatic rifles used legally and safely by thousands upon thousands of Americans. And he even wants semi-automatic rifles already owned by law-abiding Americans to be forfeited to the government.
Another Democrat candidate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., recently stated that if elected president, she’d sign an executive order requiring countless private gun sales be conducted using the federal background check system. Such a move would effectively outlaw many private loans and sales between family and friends, despite the fact that nearly all criminals get their firearms by already illegal means.
Consider, too, recently announced candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. He’s not only targeting guns by vowing to pass “universal” background checks, ban so-called “assault weapons” and close a number of nonexistent loopholes, but he has also personally targeted you and me: “And folks, we will bring a fight to the NRA like they have never, ever seen before—and we will win.” More recently he has proposed a national gun licensing program, which would force Americans to apply for and be granted a five-year gun license before obtaining a firearm.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has thrown her hat into the 2020 ring and is also attacking you, me and the more than 5 million other NRA members to try to gain traction. “They (the NRA) want to oppose universal background checks because they want to sell an assault rifle to a teenager in a Walmart or to someone on the terror watch list or to someone who’s gravely mentally ill with a violent background or to someone with a criminal conviction for a violent crime.”
“We believe in the rule of law. And we will always protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Unashamedly fighting against the Second Amendment and, consequently, lawful American gun owners seems to be at the very top of the priority list for all of the more than 20 announced Democrat candidates for the 2020 election. In fact, every one of the candidates’ anti-Second Amendment political stances is so strong that they seldom even mention it anymore when trying to differentiate themselves from the other candidates.
As Peter Ambler, executive director of the anti-gun group Giffords, recently put it: “Without contrast, there’s no debate.”
I could go on and on about the 2020 Democrat candidates, but really don’t need to. And those in the so-called “mainstream” media who frequently complain that the NRA has become a wing of the Republican party ignore the simple fact that the Democrat party has abandoned America’s law-abiding gun owners, not the other way around. The official party platform even calls for outlawing private gun sales among friends and family members, repealing laws that protect gun makers from frivolous lawsuits when their lawful products are misused by criminals, and banning the most popular rifle in the country, along with the standard-capacity magazines it utilizes.
Enter President Donald Trump, the man they all hope to replace—and who stands in stark contrast to them on this critical issue. While the Democrat candidates practically bask in their anti-gun auras, Trump has wholeheartedly backed the Second Amendment and the NRA.
In introducing the president to the crowd at the NRA-ILA Forum at the Annual Meetings in late April, Chris W. Cox proclaimed: “It’s hard to imagine, but the most vocal, pro-Second Amendment president in American history didn’t come from Texas—he came from New York City. We are blessed as a nation to have him as our president, and we are honored to have him joining us here today.”
In fact, Trump is completely unapologetic about his support for the Second Amendment, which he made quite clear during his third straight keynote address to the NRAAnnual Meetings & Exhibits, this time in Indianapolis.
“Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone. We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom.”
“I want to thank all of you, the proud, card-carrying members of the NRA,” Trump told the jubilant crowd. “Every day, you stand up for our God-given rights without exception, without fail and without apology. Together, we are fighting for the timeless values that have built and sustained our nation. And our nation is greater today than it has ever been.
“We believe in the rule of law. And we will always protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. There are some people that are running right now; I don’t think they have that number one on their list.”
As we all remember, Trump faced an extremely anti-gun career politician, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 general election. And he’s well aware that most of the more than 20 candidates running for the Democrat nomination for 2020 are even more radically anti-gun than Clinton was.
“Far-left radicals in Congress want to take away your voice, your jobs, your rights, and they especially want to take away your guns. You know that,” he said. “In recent days, leading Democrats have proposed banning new guns and confiscating existing guns from law-abiding citizens. What they don’t tell you is the bad guys aren’t giving up their guns.
“In other words, Democrats want to disarm law-abiding Americans while allowing criminal aliens to operate with impunity. But that will never happen as long as I’m your president. Not even close. I promise to defend the Second Amendment rights of every American, and I always will. I’ll never let you down. I haven’t so far, and I won’t. Because as the famous saying goes, ‘When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.’ Very simple.”
In fact, on gun rights, Trump not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk. Once again living up to his word of protecting the Second Amendment rights of NRA members and other law-abiding gun owners, Trump took the occasion to “unsign” the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty on the stage at the ILA Forum.
“Under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone,” he told the roaring crowd as he put pen to paper. “We will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom. And that is why my administration will never ratify the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
“And I am officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America’s signature from this badly misguided [agreement]. We’re taking our signature back. The United Nations will soon receive a formal notice that America is rejecting this treaty.”
(See more on the unsigning of the Arms Trade Treaty in Chris W. Cox’s “Political Report”)
“Last month, I signed an executive order requiring public colleges and universities to respect the First Amendment rights of their students, or risk losing tens of billions of dollars in federal funding.”
After two years in the Oval Office, President Trump is well aware that curbing violent crime requires action on several fronts. Thankfully, he’s aware that those actions must not interfere with the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
“As we protect gun rights for law-abiding citizens, we are also getting guns out of the hands of violent criminals,” he said. “When I took office two years ago, one of my highest priorities was to reduce violent crime. In the two years before my inauguration, the murder rate had increased by more than 20 percent, and the United States had experienced the largest increase in violent crime in over 25 years.
“For this reason, my administration resurrected Project Safe Neighborhoods, bringing together prosecutors, police, sheriffs and citizens groups to put the most dangerous offenders behind bars.”
The Trump administration also instituted further efforts in its push to protect law-abiding Americans from violent career criminals that plague many neighborhoods.
“We funded 200 new violent crime prosecutors,” he said. “We charged a record number of criminal offenders. And last year, we prosecuted the most violent criminals ever in our history.
“And now, violent crime is way down. Murders in America’s largest cities dropped by 6 percent between 2017 and 2018.”
The Trump administration has also targeted left-wing academics who seek to stifle free speech of those on the pro-gun side of the debate on college campuses.
“Last month, I signed an executive order requiring public colleges and universities to respect the First Amendment rights of their students, or risk losing tens of billions of dollars in federal funding,” he said to rousing applause. “If you don’t want to hear another voice, you don’t get all of this tremendous amount—in some cases, ridiculous amounts—of dollars.”
And he noted that his administration had also rid gun makers, sellers and owners of a dishonest Obama administration scheme that instructed banks and other financial institutions to discriminate against those in the firearm industry in order to put them out of business.
“We have shut down the previous administration’s massive abuse of power known as Operation Choke Point,” he said. “Under this ill-advised program, government bureaucrats discouraged banks from making loans to gun retailers—a backdoor attack on private gun ownership that will never be allowed to happen on my watch. That’s step one, folks. Step one. You know what step two, three and four are. Step four is: You don’t have guns. You don’t have any way to protect yourself.”
As most NRA members are aware, the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts are critically important to the preservation of the Second Amendment, as well as our way of life. Who is appointed to those courts will make or break our cause for generations to come. And that’s another aspect where Trump differs greatly from all of his many Democrat challengers.
“We’re stuck with activist judges who seek to rewrite our Constitution to force their own radical views onto our country,” Trump told those gathered. “That is why my administration has led a historic effort to confirm fair and impartial and mostly conservative judges who will interpret the Constitution as written. And I’m very proud to announce that we will soon have 145 federal judges confirmed—a record number—including two great Supreme Court judges: Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh.
“In fact, next week, we will confirm our 100th federal judge. Nobody knows what that means. The percentage is incredible. In the end, I expect to have the second-highest percentage of judges confirmed in the history of the United States—more than any other president, except one. He had 100 percent. He named every one of them. But you know what? We’ll have more of them. George Washington.”
During the speech, Trump called a number of armed heroes to the stage to relate their personal stories of how a “good guy with a gun” can make all the difference when violent criminals attack. Among them were April Evans, a Virginia mother who used a gun to protect herself and her daughter from a home intruder; Mark Vaughan, who stopped a crazed attacker who had beheaded a woman at an Oklahoma workplace; and Stephen Willeford.
America’s 1st Freedom readers will remember Willeford as the armed citizen who used his AR-15 to put an end to the deadly attack at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November 2017. Had Willeford not been armed and able, many more worshipers would have been killed that morning.
“I want to thank you all for your courage, because you’re really living proof that law-abiding gun owners make a tremendous, tremendous difference,” Trump told them. “Every day, citizens across America exercise their constitutional right to defend themselves, their families and their communities. That’s a constitutional right. They [anti-gun Democrats] want to take it away from you. They will take it away.”
Trump believes it is armed citizens like these who are also the key to protecting our most valuable resource—our children, who are students in schools throughout the country.
“We’ve also taken critical steps to improve school safety,” he said. “More than 30 states now allow teachers that are highly trained to carry guns in the classroom to protect themselves and to protect their students, who they love. Who’s better? Who’s better? I’ve been calling for that for the last two years, and I think we had a big impact.
“But who’s better to protect our students than the teachers that love them?”
For NRA members in attendance, the speech was a rousing call to action to continue the work NRA has been doing for decades to protect our unique freedom. And part of that equation is to ensure we keep a pro-gun, pro-American president in the White House for more than just four years.
“Our duty, our responsibility, our sacred charge, is to preserve the freedoms that our ancestors gave their very lives to secure,” Trump concluded. “Because no matter how many centuries go by, no matter how much the world changes, the central drama of human history remains the same. On one side are those who seek power, control and domination. And on the other side are patriots like those in this hall who stand upright and plant their feet in eternal defense of our liberty.
“And with God as our witness, we swear today that we will defend our rights, we will safeguard our freedoms, we will uphold our heritage, we will protect our Constitution, and we will make America stronger, prouder, safer, and greater than ever, ever, ever before!”
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for 19 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.