President-elect Donald Trump won on November 8 after running a pro-gun campaign focused on defending and upholding the Second Amendment.
He spoke often–and highly–of concealed carry, guns for self-defense, the importance of the Second Amendment, and the importance of an armed citizenry. And he stressed that we must maintain the Second Amendment “it its strongest form.” During the October 9 presidential debate, Trump went so far as to say he was running to save the Second Amendment from “people like Hillary Clinton.”
Now it is time to deliver. And after he is sworn in on January 20, 2017, here are five things Trump can do save the Second Amendment:
1. Nominate a pro-Second Amendment justice to Supreme Court vacancy–Antonin Scalia was a bulwark for the Second Amendment. His February 13, 2016 death left a void that has yet to be filled, but it is a void that Trump pledged to fill with someone like Scalia. During the aforementioned October 9 presidential debate Trump said, “I am looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia… people that will respect the constitution of the United States. And I think that this is so important–also, the Second Amendment which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton.” Fulfilling this promise is key in the fight to save the Second Amendment.
2. Roll back President Obama’s Executive Gun Controls–On January 5, 2016, President Obama circumvented Congress and instituted new gun controls with the swipe of a pen. These controls will have zero effect on crime, as they deal with pumping more money into federal schemes for smart gun technology, requiring background checks to be performed on a greater number of private sales, and requiring background checks on individuals in family trusts which hold guns. There were other aspects to Obama’s controls as well, but these are the central points. Whereas Obama instituted these with the swipe of a pen, Trump needs to get out his pen following the inauguration and reverse these measures all as part of saving the Second Amendment.
3. National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry–Throughout the campaign, Trump made clear his conviction that self-defense does not end at one’s driveway. And he also stressed his belief that concealed carry is a right, not a privilege. He said:
The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.
Besides the obvious benefit of making a concealed license from one state valid in every state, national reciprocity for concealed carry also deals a death blow to myriad gun controls and freedom-stifling regulations in states like California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey, to name just a few. Congress should pass national reciprocity immediately so Trump can sign it and save the Second Amendment.
4. Firearm Suppressor Deregulation–Firearm suppressors are legal in more than 40 states, yet the process for acquiring one is extremely burdensome. A would-be buyer has to be fingerprinted, photographed, and background checked. He must pay the federal government $200 for a federal stamp associated with the silencer–the $200 is really nothing more than a federal tax–and he must register his silencer with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This process takes four to six months. I seem to recall the Founding Fathers saying something about “shall not be infringed,” and a process that takes months to complete is certainly infringement. There is momentum in Congress to pass legislation to at least streamline this process, if not do away with it altogether. Donald Trump Jr. has signaled that his father will sign that legislation if it reaches his desk. This is another part of saving the Second Amendment.
5. Obliterate Social Security Gun Ban–An insidious gun ban formulated under President Obama will force unknown thousands of elderly Americans to forfeit the right to keep and bear arms based on how they handle their finances. Breitbart News reported on the presence of this ban on July 18, 2015, and the the Los Angeles Times reported that the the ban had largely been developed “outside of public view.” The ban is essentially framed under a “mental health” moniker, whereby information on the mental condition of Social Security recipients is fed into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), so that firearm background checks on elderly persons include a look into their mental status. Here is the catch–if the elderly person requires help with his or her finances they can be deemed mentally unfit or mentally defunct and denied a firearm purchase as a result. The report issued by the LA Times estimates that the finances of up to 4.2 million Social Security recipients are handled by somebody else. This means their right to keep and bear arms is at risk, should Obama’s Social Security gun ban remain.
On top of all of this, there is even a degree of confusion over the Social Security ban, because of the language the Social Security Administration (SSA) used in describing it. The ban should be ended immediately–as part of saving the Second Amendment–and SSA language on gun-related matters should be clarified and fleshed out in public, rather than behind closed doors, going forward.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.