How Donald Trump's Views on Guns Shifted Over Time
He's slated to address the NRA today.
Here's how his view shifted over time, based in part on two of his policy-oriented books.
"The America We Deserve," 2000
In a page-long explanation of his stance on guns, Trump assessed the differences between the two main political parties' gun policies. He called what he said was the Democratic party's desire to "confiscate" guns "a dumb idea" and said Republicans "refuse even limited restrictions," noting that they "walk the NRA line."
Instead, he cast his stance as something of a middle ground.
"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," he wrote.
"With today's Internet technology we should be able to tell within seventy-two hours if a potential gun owner has a record."
"Crippled America," 2015
Fast forward 15 years and Trump appears to have reversed his position.
"Opponents of gun rights often use a lot of scary descriptive phrases when proposing legislative action against various types of weapons. Ban 'assault weapons' they say, or 'military-style weapons,' or 'high-capacity magazines,'" he wrote. "Those all do sound a little ominous, until you understand what they are actually talking about are common, popular semiautomatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned and used by tens of millions of Americans."
In "Crippled America," Trump argues that background checks "accomplished very little" as they effectively just brought "more government regulation into the situation."
Trump cited Project Exile, a 1997 program started in Richmond, Virginia which automatically moved trials involving guns to federal court. It also added a mandatory minimum 5-year federal prison sentence if convicted. He reiterated his support for this program during his presidential campaign and mentioned it on his website.
His Own Gun History
In his 2015 book, Trump wrote that he "owns guns. Fortunately, I have never had to use."
According to publicly accessible records, Trump has had a concealed weapons permit since 2010.
Trump confirmed his permit during an interview with Outdoor Life magazine in January, saying that "the problem is once you get to the border line of New Jersey or anyplace else, you can’t do it, which is ridiculous, because I’m a very big Second Amendment person."
Since announcing his presidency, Trump has spoken about guns regularly and has pledged to get rid of "gun-free zones" at schools and military bases.
"My first day, it gets signed, OK? My first day. There's no more gun-free zones," he said in January.
He has also cited gun control as being partly to blame for mass shootings like those in Paris and San Bernardino, arguing that the attackers could have been stopped more quickly if more bystanders had guns.
For his part, Trump seems willing to be that bystander if the situation arises.
"Somebody attacks me, oh, they’re gonna be shocked," he said in October after mentioning his concealed weapons license.
"Can you imagine? Somebody says 'Oh there's Trump, he's easy pickings,' 'What'd you say?'" he said while holding his fingers like a drawn gun.
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