Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Donald Trump on the Second Amendment over the Years

Donald Trump is unquestionably the frontrunner in the Republican field of presidential contenders at this time.  He says that he is for the second amendment.  All candidates say that they are for the Second Amendment, but many of them are lying.  President Obama, for example, seems to thing that the Second Amendment is about hunting.    John Lott has written that while at the University of Chicago, Barrack Obama told him that he thought that people should not be allowed to have guns.   

In the year 2000, Donald Trump wrote a book about his solutions to America's problems.  In it, he made his most controversial statements about gun control. 

 He wrote in The America We Deserve, p. 102.  From on the issues:
It’s often argued that the American murder rate is high because guns are more available here than in other countries. Democrats want to confiscate all guns, which is a dumb idea because only the law-abiding citizens would turn in their guns and the bad guys would be the only ones left armed. The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions.
 and this statement:
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 Second Amendment supporters, that does not look good.  It seems to waffle.   But this was 15 years ago.  The assault weapon ban was law, so Trump was only supporting what already existed.  Even George W. Bush said that he would sign an assault weapon ban if it came to his desk for renewal.   A "slightly longer waiting period" is also problematical, but again, it is in the context of what existed at the time.  

Donald Trump wrote that statement 15 years ago.  What has changed to educate him or to change his views?   

15 years ago, Donald Trump's two oldest sons were 22 and 16.  Both of them are ardent hunters and second amendment supporters.  Donald Trump says that they have become his most trusted source for information on gun issues.  It seems that they have educated him on some of the finer details of the gun control debate.  In 2012, Donald defended their right to hunt, even though he is not a hunter.   From the dailymail.co.uk in March of 2012:
 Their father does not share the views of his sons, and the elder Donald told TMZ that 'My sons love hunting. They're hunters and they've become good at it. I am not a believer in hunting and I'm surprised they like it.'

'I know that anything they did was 100% OK in terms of the hunting community,' Mr Trump continued.

Emily Miller interviewed Donald Trump in 2012 from washingtontimes.com, November 14, 2012
The star of “Celebrity Apprentice” said he owns a “H&K .45 and a .38 Smith & Wesson.”

Asked about the gun-control measures being pushed by people like New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Mr. Trump said that, “The way I view it, if nobody has guns, then only the bad guys have them. And they aren’t giving up their guns.”

I mentioned the dangers of gun-free zones like Washington, D.C. and, largely, Manhattan because of all the red tape it takes to exercise the right to bear arms.

Mr. Trump said an example of this was seen in the Aurora, Colo. shooting. “If some of the people in the movie theater had a gun, they’d have been shooting at him. Nobody had a gun so they were totally defenseless.”

The Donald is a true Second Amendment enthusiast.
In January of 2014, Donald was considering a run for Governor of New York.  He invited some Second Amendment supporters to his penthouse.  From politicsny.net:
I was pleased to discover Mr. Trump is a strong defender of our Second Amendment rights – and his two boys are firearms enthusiasts.
 Here is Donald Trump on the S.A.F.E. act March 12, 2014, from auburnpub.com:
 "You have the SAFE Act, which is a total catastrophe. It's hard to believe it even got passed. Look, you're sitting at home and a bad guy walks in with a gun. At least you want to have a shot at it, right? You don't want to be defenseless... But this SAFE Act is a disaster. Whoever ultimately is going to be the nominee for the Republicans, they better bring it up very loud and clear because that act is a catastrophe. I call it the unSAFE Act."

From an Albany rally in April 2014, against the S.A.F.E. act: From nydailynews.com:
“You have the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. You have that right and they want to take it away,” Trump said. “And they are taking it away, slowly but surely, they are taking it away."

Polls showed that gun owners hated the S.A.F.E. act in New York, but that overall NY voters approved of it:
Although the law is wildly unpopular with gun enthusiasts, it is supported by a majority of New Yorkers, polls show. A recent Siena Poll found that 63% of state voters back the SAFE Act and 32% oppose it.
Trump did not follow the polls.  He spoke at rallies and condemned the S.A.F.E. act at every turn.  The S.A.F.E. act severely restricted so-called "assault weapons".   The federal "assault weapon ban had sunset 9 years earlier.

Trump's thinking seems to have changed.  15 years of exposure to two respected sons that are Second Amendment enthusiasts might do that. 

DB Productions has put together a YouTube montage of what Donald Trump has said about the Second Amendment over the years.

Link to the video

There are several themes that are clear from Donald Trump's statements on the Second Amendment.

First, he strongly associates the Second Amendment with self defense.  This is in opposition to nearly all disarmists.   In the Heller decision in 2008, the Supreme Court Decision held that the Second Amendment applied to self defense.
 Disarmists dismiss Heller as nonsense.  Trump  held that the Second Amendment applies to self defense before the Heller decision.

Second, Trump has always said that gun control laws will only disarm the good guys.  The bad guys will then be the ones with the guns.  Again, this is an enormous departure from disarmists.  They *never* make this statement, because it undermines their whole argument.

Third, Trump now understands that the disarmist game is incremental degradation of the right to keep and bear arms.  This shows much greater understanding than he had in the year 2000.   From the video, starting about 6:10:
What does the Second Amendment mean to you?

"Above all, Protection, and these people that want to chop it down, knock it down, decapitate it, it shouldn't be allowed  should never be allowed.  Let me tell you, if I run, if I win it is protected."
 In this video from the NRA meeting, Trump introduces his sons and repeats the themes that he has since built on about the Second Amendment, the Iranian nuclear deal, ISIS, and Immigration.

Link to NRA meeting video

Ammoland did an interview with Donald Trump in July of 2015.  From Ammoland.com:


The deceptive term “Assault Weapons” has proven to be a buzz word among the anti-gun media. Back in 2000 in your book “The America We Deserve” you wrote “The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse to even limited restrictions. 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.” Since that time the AR15 rifle, what the media calls an “assault weapons“, has become America’s most popular firearm with millions and millions of them owned by good people.

Do you still stand by this quote or has your thinking evolved over the 15 years since you wrote that line?

Donald Trump:

“I certainly stand by my opposition to Gun Control when it comes to taking guns from law-abiding citizens. You mention that the media describes the AR-15 as an “assault rifle,” which is one example of the many distortions they use to sell their agenda. However, the AR-15 does not fall under this category. Gun-banners are unfortunately preoccupied with the AR-15, magazine capacity, grips, and other aesthetics, precisely because of its popularity.”
“To the Left every gun is an assault weapon.”

“Gun control does not reduce crime. It has consistently failed to stop violence. Americans are entitled to protect their families, their property and themselves. In fact, in right-to-carry states the violent crime rate is 24% lower than the rest of the United States and the murder rate is 28% lower. This should not be up for debate.”

Trump has clearly changed his views on "assault weapons" and "waiting periods" Here is what he told Ammoland about "background checks":

Donald Trump

“I do not support expanding background checks. The current background checks do not work.”

“They make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to acquire firearms while consistently failing to stop criminals from getting guns. We should re-examine our policy to make sure that these prohibitions do not impede law abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
The entire interview is well worth reading.

Has Donald Trump changed his views about the Second Amendment? It seems that his views have been refined through education. Fifteen years ago, he likely had a murkier understanding of what "assault weapons" were.  He did not know how ineffective the current "background check" system is. 

However, he always believed that the Second Amendment applied to self defense, and that disarming "good guys" would leave the "bad guys" armed.

That makes him a bit different from most of the political pack.

Definition of disarmist

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

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