On January 20, 2020, protestors descended upon the Virginian Capital Building in Richmond to peacefully demonstrate en masse and express their discontent with Governor Ralph Northam’s reintroduced gun control measures.
Now that Democrats control both chambers of the Virginian Statehouse for the first time in over twenty years, it is the perfect time to strike at the Second Amendment. The policies implemented by Governor Northam include a statewide ban on bump stocks and high volume magazines, as well as instituting red flag confiscation laws.
With the sheer amount of online pushback, these policies have received, and with the very apparent lack of support they have with Virginians (Virginia sheriffs won’t even enforce them!), it’s the perfect opportunity for President Trump to shore up, and lockdown, the support of those who are skeptical of his stance and record on the Second Amendment.
Given President Trump’s off-the-cuff approach to politics, the mainstream adoption of large scale gun control by Democrats, and many notable Republicans — at both the state and federal level — flirting with red flag laws, it’s understandable how many undecided and Independent voters with a reverence for the Second Amendment might be skeptical, if not outright concerned, for the future of their right to bear arms.
Now, despite President Trump’s checkered history with the Second Amendment, so far, he’s done a wonderful job of protecting gun rights from further infringement. Both of his appointees to the Supreme Court of the United States have reliable records as legal textualists and constitutional originalists, and the other 185 Article III judges that his administration has appointed are of similar legal schools of thought. So, as far as the Judicial Branch is concerned, President Trump has helped ensure the protection of Americans’ rights for years to come.
Additionally, the Department of Justice under President Trump, has put an end to many of the Obama-era bureaucratic stipulations that bogged down the firearm community for years. For instance, the DOJ settled with Defense Distributed, making it no longer a criminal act to both 3D-print single-shot pistols and semi-automatic rifle components and disseminate the digital files for these prints. They also put an end to the Obama-era “Operation Checkpoint” in which federal investigators identified places of business that “posed risks,” but it singled out small businesses that were not in line with the administration’s larger ideological worldview. Operation Checkpoint put many small, local firearm retailers out of business.
That said, President Trump’s previous statements about confiscating privately owned firearms without going through due process, the implementation of a federal bump stock ban, and supporting congressional Republicans backing away from the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act indicate that the man who authored The Art of the Deal is, in fact, willing to compromise on the part of the Second Amendment that declares the right “shall not be infringed.” This could pose a severe problem for voters that are not convinced of President Trump’s support for the Second Amendment.
However, given the President’s gift for passionate and inspired rhetoric, he has been able to bludgeon the Democrats aggressively and repeatedly with the very fact that they are actively anti-Second Amendment. Whereas this may be clever rhetoric, it may not be enough to win the support of undecided and Independent voters that prioritize their right to bear arms when casting their ballots.
With the current anti-gun trend that has recently begun to define the Democrat platform broadly, President Trump is likely to maintain his support among the gun-owning community. It is unlikely that they will shift allegiance to a party that wants to restrict the Second Amendment outright. However, those that are grumbling against him may continue to grow in both size and influence if the President does not keep his word and outright protect the Second Amendment as it’s written.
That is not to say that the President ought to disregard the NRA, as he clearly shouldn’t. They are an immensely influential group that has mostly done fantastic work with protecting the Second Amendment, but President Trump could engender considerable goodwill among the gun community by presenting himself to, and hearing the concerns of, some of the smaller firearms focused organizations such as The Second Amendment Foundation, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Gun Owners of America, and more.
To ensure that his campaign locks down the support of the gun community, President Trump ought to return to an originalist interpretation of the Second Amendment and ensure that Americans are guaranteed their right to bear arms—as intended by the Constitution—so they may protect themselves, their families, and be prepared to ward off tyranny should it arise. After all, “shall not be infringed” means just what it says.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.