This article boils down to one simple question, do you trust Donald Tump with your Second Amendment rights?
Before I answer that question, let me just say that I like Trump. The real estate billionaire is a wild card, and his “insurgency” (as the talking heads are calling it) within the GOP has really made this political season fun to watch. Trump has everyone on their toes, and for good reason. Not only is he leading in the polls but his refusal to toe the politically-correct line in the debates and in conversations with the media may be a testament to his commitment to buck establishment trends and shake up Washington. Many of us believe that the country is headed down a wayward path, that the federal government is broken. Trump just may be the transformative figure we need to, well, as he likes to say, “Make America Great Again!”
But I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t acknowledge that Trump has some serious warts on his record. To start with the obvious, he’s donated to every politician under the sun, including cutting a $250,000 check to the despicable Bill-ary (Clinton) Foundation. Now, Trump side-steps this criticism by saying that his past donations were a function of his business agenda — not a function of his personal politics. He donated to numerous (pro-gun control) politicians so that they would owe him favors in the future.
“I gave to many people before this,” Trump said at the GOP presidential debate in Cleveland. “When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.”
For a mover and shaker and a deal-maker like Trump, it makes sense that he would try to get as many politicians in his back pocket as he possibly could. When everyone owes Trump a favor, he can pretty much do what he wants to do and, subsequently, the expansion of his business empire will go virtually unchecked. But there is a real cost to doing business this way. That is, by empowering people like the Clintons via donations, Trump has contributed to the demise of this country. That is correct. When one gives money to candidates committed to squashing our Constitutional rights and individual liberties then that person bears responsibility for the policies those candidates enact. If you donated to Bill Clinton, if you voted for Bill Clinton, then you are — in part — responsible for the anti-gun measures Bill enacted, which brings me to wart number two.
Trump used to support banning black rifles. Back in 2000, in his book “The America We Deserve,” the Don wrote, “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.”
To be fair, it helps placing this quote in a historical context. At that time, the Clinton-era Assault Weapons Ban was the law of the land. It wouldn’t expire until 2004. Crime rates were dropping and gun-control proponents were quick to point to the ban as a causal factor. However, research would later show that the Clinton-era AWB had no statistically significant effect on crime reduction. Even after the ban expired, crime continued to drop leaving any sensible person to conclude that banning modern sporting rifles was a feel-good proposal that did nothing to reduce crime, but instead, only limited the rights of the law-abiding by restricting their access to an optimal tool for home defense: AR/AK-platform rifles.
As far as the longer waiting periods, the FBI’s NICS system was launched in Nov. of 1998. It was about a year and half old when Trump made that statement. It’s come a long way since its inception and has really done a pretty good job of instantly determining whether a prospective buyer is a prohibited person.
All this to say that Trump’s position on firearms back in 2000 was probably more mainstream than anything else. I’m sure he wasn’t the only gun owner (Because of his power and influence he was able to obtain a concealed carry permit in NYC), circa 2000, that wanted longer waiting periods and thought the AWB was a good idea. However, he still has a record of supporting black rifle bans. The gun-rights purist in me cannot overlook that. I know that as Churchill said, “change is the price of survival,” and like I alluded to, Trump’s evolution on this issue mirrors a larger shift in public sentiment toward black rifles, but still, he supported banning firearms which is — regardless of the historical context — contrary to the intent of the Second Amendment.
Is it an unforgivable sin to evolve on this issue? No. And for the record, Trump couldn’t be any clearer in his support for the 2A now that he is a presidential contender.
“The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear,” says Trump’s official statement on the Second Amendment. “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.”
As it relates specifically to prohibitions, Trump states, “Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons’, ‘military-style weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.”
But yet, and to circle back to the initial question, I’m not sure I trust Trump to do right by gun owners. He’s just not a gun guy. While I don’t think he’ll sell us down the river, like Obama clearly did in his second term, I’m also not sure he wouldn’t, in an attempt to make a deal, concede something to the anti-gun lobby. So, yes, call me gun-shy on Trump. In my book, he’s fidelity to his business empire has given him a schizophrenic track record on the issues, so I guess as a presidential candidate I see him more as a self-interested pragmatist than a principled reformer. Is Trump going to really look out for the American people? Or is he going to continue to do what he’s always done, build up the Trump empire.
I don’t have an answer to those questions. And I’m not saying I won’t vote for the guy. I just really need to think things through. And here is where I need your input. What are your thoughts? Do you support Trump? Do you trust him with your 2A rights?