During his May 20 speech to the NRA Leadership Forum in Louisville, Kentucky, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continued to contrast his positions on guns with Hillary Clinton’s positions. In so doing, he stressed his pro-gun agenda while continuing to outline aspects of Clinton’s plan to “abolish the Second Amendment.”
Trump’s speech marked weeks of back and forth between himself and the Clinton camp — a back and forth that eventually forced Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin to tell the Huffington Post that Clinton does not want to go so far as to “repeal the Second Amendment.” Rather, she wants to use the Supreme Court to reverse decisions that recognized the Second Amendment as a protection of the individual right to own a gun.
So where do the candidates stand? What should pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment Americans in both parties know?
Here is a breakdown:
Universal Background Checks — Clinton supports them; Trump opposes them. Clinton wants to force California-style universal background checks on every law-abiding, would-be gun buyer in America. Trump, on the other hand, contends that the background check system we already have has been a dismal failure and sees no reason to expand what doesn’t work.
“Assault Weapons” Ban — Clinton supports it; Trump opposes it. Clinton stands with President Obama in support of a ban on AR-15s and other semiautomatic rifles that constitute some of the most popular firearms in America. On the other hand, Trump has made clear his opposition to any such ban, saying:
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.
Gun-Free Zones — Clinton supports keeping them in place; Trump wants to get rid of them. On May 14, Clinton used a tweet to warn that Trump plans to abolish zones where law-abiding teachers and school faculty are currently mandated to remain unarmed, therefore defenseless. Clinton wrote: “FACT: Donald Trump would force schools to allow guns in classrooms on his first day in office.” During his speech to the NRA Leadership Forum, Trump pointed to various examples of innocents being shot to death in gun-free zones. He specifically mentioned unarmed co-workers gunned down in San Bernardino and unarmed military personnel gunned down in Chattanooga. He then said, “We’re getting rid of gun-free zones.” In January, Trump specifically mentioned the horror of unarmed innocents being gunned down in gun-free school zones as well. He pledged to remove those zones so teachers can be armed for self-defense.
Second Amendment — Clinton wants to gut it; Trump wants to defend it. Even in attempting to defend Clinton from charges that she will “abolish the Second Amendment,” spokesman Josh Schwerin had to assure readers that she will not go so far as to “repeal” it. But his description of what she does plan to do left no doubt but that she would arrange the Supreme Court to gut or emaciate the Second Amendment, at the least. Schwerin gave this away by explaining Clinton’s conviction that the Supreme Court’s D.C. v Heller decision was wrong. This is telling because Heller was simply a reaffirmation that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms — a right that the federal government and federal districts, like Washington D.C., shall not infringe.
Trump argues that Clinton’s rejection of this ruling is tantamount to a rejection of the Second Amendment. On April 11, 2015, Trump told Breitbart News that his goal is to maintain the Second Amendment “in its strongest form.”
The differences between Trump and Clinton are equally stark on numerous other points as well. For example, on October 16, Clinton stated that the Australian gun ban was “worth looking at” for gun policy in the U.S., while Trump has repeatedly argued that an armed citizenry plays a vital role in the fight to prevent terror and criminal attacks. He says that armed citizens could certainly cut such attacks short if someone dares to attempt one.
Clinton wants more regulations on federally-licensed gun dealers, she supports California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom’s push for ammunition background checks, and she wants to expand the time allotted for a background check from “instant” to indefinite. On the other hand, Trump is a lifetime member of the NRA and contends that “concealed carry is a right, not a privilege.”
Moreover, Trump is a concealed carry permit holder.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.