Former US President Donald Trump has pledged to ‘roll back’ gun rules after NRA backing

Staff Writers
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Former US president Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association Convention in Texas.
Former US president Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association Convention in Texas. Credit: AP

Donald Trump has pledged to unravel gun regulations put in place by US President Joe Biden during a lengthy speech to the National Rifle Association, during which he accepted the influential group’s endorsement.

The address to thousands of NRA members at the group’s annual Leadership Forum in Dallas was light on new policy, but he used the platform to urge gun supporters to go to the polls in the November election.

“We’ve got to get gun owners to vote,” Trump said in his wide-ranging speech, which covered everything from his criminal trials to trade and immigration over more than 90 minutes.

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“I think you’re a rebellious bunch. But let’s be rebellious and vote this time.”

America’s top gun rights group has now endorsed Trump three times - in 2016, 2020 and 2024.

The NRA had cheered on Trump during his 2017-2021 term, as he appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court and took a series of steps sought by the gun lobby. That included designating firearm shops as essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to stay open.

During the speech, Trump, repeated a pledge to fire the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, known as the ATF, on Day One of a potential administration. He accused that agency, which enforces US gun laws, of being heavy-handed with firearm owners and revoking licenses on frivolous grounds.

Republicans largely oppose stricter gun laws, saying the right to bear arms is established in the US Constitution’s Second Amendment. That stance has remained fixed even in the face of a steady stream of mass shootings that have led to calls from many Democrats to impose more controls on guns.

“In my second term, we will roll back every Biden attack on the Second Amendment. The attacks are coming fast and furious,” the Republican presidential candidate said.

Following the speech, the Biden campaign accused Trump of prioritising the desires of the gun lobby over public safety. Trump and Biden are set to face off in the general election on November 5.

“Tonight, Donald Trump confirmed that he will do exactly what the NRA tells him to do - even if it means more death, more shootings, and more suffering,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said.

As in previous addresses, Trump repeated a false claim that he won the 2020 election, and he went after Biden in aggressive terms, repeating claims of corruption that are not supported by available evidence.

Trump also unleashed a torrent of attacks on independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who is running a distant third and siphoning off votes from both frontrunners.

Surveys show gun regulations are a divisive issue in the US, though a strong majority of Americans support at least some limits.

In a March Reuters/Ipsos survey, 53 per cent of respondents said the government should regulate gun ownership, while 38 per cent of respondents disagreed. Among Republicans, only 35 per cent said the government should be involved.

The four-day annual NRA convention gathered tens of thousands of gun enthusiasts and dealers, with many in the heavily Republican crowd wearing Trump gear.

Trump also noted he will be speaking next week at the Libertarian Party’s convention and said he will urge its members to vote for him.

“We have to join with them,” he said. “We have to get that three per cent because we can’t take a chance on Joe Biden winning.”

with Reuters.

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