Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)-
“As you know, the bump-stocks are actually a very unimportant thing, and NRA, I went with them, and they said, ‘it doesn’t mean anything, they’re actually, all they do is teach you how to shoot very inaccurately.’ So we did that.” ~ Donald Trump, CNN Town Hall, May 10, 2023
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.” ~ Joint statement of Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox, NRA, October 5, 2017
When Donald Trump pushed his Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to reclassify bump-stocks as “machineguns” under the National Firearms Act, he had the blessings of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA to do it – if not specifically, but definitely in principle. On October 5, 2017, after the horrific attack in Las Vegas, LaPierre put out a joint statement with then-Director of NRA-ILA Chris Cox, declaring:
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
The lamestream media celebrated the statement.
When I, and others, called out NRA on their foolish and unprincipled stand, LaPierre back-pedaled a bit, claiming that the Association wasn’t calling for bump-stocks to be banned, just “regulated.” That statement was proven a lie by LaPierre’s strongest supporter on the NRA Board of Directors, Florida lobbyist, and former NRA President Marion Hammer. She submitted a rebuttal to my AmmoLand News column, in which she made clear her personal disdain for bump-stocks and anyone who would own one. At the same time, others in the “gun press” praised LaPierre’s statement, suggesting it was a genius move to outmaneuver opponents in DC and the media.
As I said in my column calling for the NRA Board of Directors to repudiate LaPierre’s statement, he could have suggested a willingness on the part of NRA to discuss whether some regulation of bump-stocks might be appropriate, and he would have achieved the same political result without ceding the core principle of the issue. By stating that bump-stocks make semi-autos function like machine guns and declaring that NRA believes the devices should be more tightly regulated, LaPierre completely undercut any grounds for defending the devices in the ongoing debate. There is simply no way to reconcile LaPierre’s call for regulation with his later statements – and the NRA’s current public position – opposing the reclassification and supporting lawsuits calling for the repeal of the ban.
Many GunVoters still hold a grudge against Donald Trump for his failure to stand by our principles.
As Jared of Guns & Gadgets made clear in his video, in addition to his actions on bump-stocks, Trump has made comments endorsing bans on “assault weapons” and supporting red flag laws, all while claiming to be a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. Trump’s actions opened the door to the BATFE overreach we’re currently fighting on pistol braces, forced-reset triggers, parts kits, and more.
It’s clear to those of us committed to the right to keep and bear arms that Donald Trump doesn’t really understand our issue and can’t be relied on to stand up for our principles.
Unfortunately, this is to be expected. Very few politicians are deeply committed to the principles of liberty and individual rights. To most of them, virtually every issue is just a chip to be played on their political poker table. Their primary objective is to get the best deal they can in the direction of their goals and the goals of their constituents while giving up the least they can that might offend or frustrate their constituents. Rarely do they actually understand the details, and even more rarely do they adhere to any sort of unyielding principles. That’s just the nature of the beast, and if you don’t understand that, you will be forever disappointed and jaded.
The secret to keeping politicians on the straight and narrow is to always be educating them. They must be informed and guided by knowledgeable experts and their constituents – CONSTANTLY! Sure, we can wish for, and strive for, candidates who are true believers in the Constitution and the right to arms, but we have to understand that those are as rare as unicorns. In the real world, we have to deal with real politicians, and that means working around their flaws and shortcomings.
Can we really expect any politician to be more firmly grounded in Second Amendment history and principles than the head of the most powerful gun rights organization in the world?
I’m not excusing Trump’s failures, but I do think they need to be looked at in perspective. I’ve never been a fan of Donald Trump. I voted for him twice because the alternatives were way worse, and I appreciate many of the things he accomplished during his presidency. I know that he isn’t nearly as solid on gun issues as he claims to be – politicians almost never are – but I’ll vote for him again if he wins the Republican Primary. I personally think Ron DeSantis is currently a better choice, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
What’s critically important is, regardless of who is running for, president, governor, congressman, state legislator, or city councilman, we – you and I – must make sure they are hearing from us all the time, and we have to do a better job of surrounding them with people who truly understand and respect our rights and the Constitution.
The only attribute any politician needs to be successful is the ability to be elected. None of them will ever be perfect, so it will always be a choice between the lesser of two evils or, best-case, the better (or most electable) of two candidates. In short, politicians are like toddlers. They require constant supervision and need to be taught and corrected as necessary. It’s up to us to ensure that, whoever they are, they know our issues, feel the heat, and hopefully, see the light.
About Jeff Knox:
Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.
The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.