President Donald Trump campaigned with a great Second Amendment plan. However, that plan now seems to be going up in smoke.
President Donald Trump’s Second Amendment Plan May be Endangered Species
President Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election in part because of his fierce pledge to uphold the Second Amendment.
When the moderators of a GOP primary debate in January 2016 asked the then-GOP presidential nominee whether there were “any circumstances that you think we should be limiting gun sales of any kind in America,” he pithily replied, “No, I am a Second Amendment person.”
And according to Business Insider, the official Second Amendment plan included on his campaign website made it clear that he “[o]pposes putting restrictions on assault-weapon sales” and “[w]ants to fix defection gun legislation in place in order to avoid infringing on Second Amendment rights.”
The then-GOP presidential nominee likewise expressed opposition to implementing universal background checks and support for eliminating gun-free zones and instituting a national right to carry.
Yet as of early March 2018, it sometimes seems as if the man who ultimately won the 2016 election has lost interest in maintaining his original Second Amendment plan.
President Donald Trump’s Second Amendment Plan Starts To Change
President Donald Trump’s vow to uphold the Second Amendment first began to show signs of wear and tear immediately following the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Within a week of the Feb. 14 tragedy, President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Justice “to issue regulations banning so-called bump stocks” and “signaled that he was open to supporting legislation that would modestly improve the national gun background check system,” as reported by The New York Times.
Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
One week later, on the final day of February, President Donald Trump seemingly completed his transformation from a proponent of the Second Amendment to a full-fledged gun control zealot.
During a now-infamous bipartisan discussion on gun control, President Donald Trump said, “I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man's case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time. Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
And oh, did I mention that he also suggested an “assault weapons” ban be added to a background check bill drafted by Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey?
What happened to your Second Amendment plan, Mr. President?
President Donald Trump’s Second Amendment Plan Has Possibly Been Hijacked
Two possibilities present themselves: Either President Donald Trump has reverted to his former beliefs regarding the Second Amendment and gun control, or he is simply playing the public and media like a fiddle to drum up support in advance of the 2018 midterm elections.
For most of his adult life, President Donald Trump was a fervent supporter of gun control, despite his claims otherwise.
“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he wrote in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” according to Newsweek.
Yeah, sorry, but support for a ban on “assault weapons” automatically makes one a proponent of gun control, period. Like conservative commentator Jim Geraghty noted last week for National Review, President Donald Trump has “never really been a ‘gun guy.'”
These views, which President Donald Trump apparently discarded as he grew older, lend credence to the nerve-racking theory that he is now revealing his true position on guns and the Second Amendment.
The following commentary from Reason magazine contributor Jacob Sullum reflects this fear:
“How else to explain Trump's blithe recommendation that police ‘take the guns first’ and ‘go through due process second’ when they encounter someone they think might be dangerous? That comment … conclusively demonstrates that he does not attach much value to the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment. He became a ‘Second Amendment person’ for the same reason he became an anti-abortion person, and he is equally sincere about both.”
But not everyone shares this sentiment. Based on President Donald Trump’s proven capability to troll the media, some believe he is merely acting out a role for the purpose of optics: “Trump cannot afford to cross the NRA, but he can talk about doing it, strut and brag in his way. And with a media that confuses politics with optics, he can get away with it.”
Which is it then?
President Donald Trump’s Second Amendment Plan Is Still Active… For Now
As of March 6, President Donald Trump had yet to implement a single gun control solution. Moreover, he had issued several tweets clarifying his continued support for the Second Amendment:
Many ideas, some good & some not so good, emerged from our bipartisan meeting on school safety yesterday at the White House. Background Checks a big part of conversation. Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge. Respect 2nd Amendment!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2018
Here’s the kicker: Congress has reportedly made no moves to actually address any gun control legislation.
“[N]ot even some of the more limited proposals are likely to make it to the Senate floor this week, and other issues are starting to crowd Capitol Hill's agenda,” CNN reported Monday.
President Donald Trump has likewise abandoned mentions of gun control on his Twitter feed, which has since been overrun with complaints about former President Barack Obama and his failed policies.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean that gun enthusiasts and gun rights activists are out of the woods quite yet. Not until either President Donald Trump or his top White House officials make it abundantly clear that the president has no intention of infringing on our Second Amendment rights can we rest. Until then, we must remain loud and vocal.