As President Trump kicks off his reelection campaign in Florida, I thought I would take some time to reflect on the state of the right to bear arms today as compared to when President Trump took his oath of office.
In Donald Trump’s 2000 book, The America We Deserve, he said “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.”
In 2016, liberal commentators were quick to opine that Candidate Trump was “pandering to the most extreme elements of his base” when he said “I’m a big Second Amendment guy.” Casting gun owners as “extremist” is right out of the liberal play book, but were they wrong to say he was merely pandering?
First there was the so-called “Fix NICS” law, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of people being improperly, usually illegally, listed as persons prohibited from purchasing firearms. “Fix NICS” did anything but. As a result, the rate of false positives during a background check has increased substantially.
When the President talks, people do listen. President Trump said: “Take the guns first, go through due process second,”. The Fourteenth Amendment is quite clear that among its other protections, “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. This requires that the government must allow for the due process of law before a person’s rights or property are taken from them.
Skipping due process protections is exactly what state legislators did when they passed Florida’s version of a “Red Flag” law. Copied from a 2016 Washington State gun control act, Florida’s “Risk Protection Order” is the subject of several constitutional challenges that will likely take years to sort out.
Florida was also one of the first states to ban “Bump Stocks” and any trigger kit that allows the shooter to fire faster than the stock trigger. This new Florida ban was quickly followed by a federal “Bump Stock” ban, which is also being challenged in the courts.
With the proverbial camel’s nose already under the tent, the Florida legislature and Department of Law Enforcement also used the opportunity to ban the sale of all firearms to adults under 21, do away with pre-purchase background check deadlines in order to allow for indefinite delays when purchasing a firearm, and add waiting periods for long guns. Again, the courts are engaged but Florida courts usually just “rubber stamp” gun control laws; necessitating costly and time-consuming appeals.
This year President Trump announced that we are withdrawing from the unratified UN Arms Trade Treaty. This treaty has been rejected by Congress since the Obama administration signed onto it and Trump rightfully formally withdrew the U.S. from the UN ATT. However, this glimmer of hope that the current administration would soon start showing Gun Owners why their trust in Trump was not misplaced would soon be dashed.
President Trumps judicial nominations have appeared to be “spot on” to ensure that our courts will adhere to the constitution and the Second Amendment has a chance of resurrection. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
Most recently, President Trump has set his sights on potentially banning the already heavily regulated and taxed lawful possession of suppressors.
Don’t get me wrong… Every Democrat candidate for President has promised far worse gun control than President Trump ever imagined engaging in. But it’s time to quit pretending that this administration has given gun owners much to be happy about when they go to the polls.