The 2020 election is drawing closer, and Donald Trump is behind in the polls, which means he’s recycling the same lies and broken promises he used in 2016 — including the promise to oppose gun control and defend the Second Amendment.
Despite the recent propaganda by so-called defenders of the gun rights like the National Rifle Association — the (NRA) recently endorsed Trump for reelection because he has “done more than any president to protect the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms” — Trump’s track record shows that he is pro-gun control and anti-Second Amendment.
Since becoming president, Trump has:
- Openly embraced Nancy Pelosi’s gun-control agenda
- Banned bump stocks via executive order
- Pushed for enhanced background checks
- Proposed expanding red flag laws on a national level
As someone who has shown himself to be a threat to the entire Constitution, Trump has gone after other parts of the Bill of Rights — such as the right to privacy and the right to due process — to advance his pro-gun control, anti-Second Amendment agenda, such as:
- Suggesting law enforcement ignore due process rights to make it easier for the government to seize guns
- Proposing social media companies develop tracking tools to “detect mass shooters before they strike”
- Having his DOJ take Google and Apple to court in an attempt to force them to turn over personal information on users of a phone app that calibrates rifle scopes
- Proposing the creation of a phone app to conduct remote background checks via the NICS system that would give government greater access to personal information without due process and eventually lead to the creation of a de facto national gun registry
In a recent report by Michael Maharrey for the Tenth Amendment Center, we find more evidence of Trump’s pro-gun control, anti-Second Amendment approach to gun rights.
For the third straight year, the Trump administration has ramped up enforcement of unconstitutional federal gun control, according to the latest data released by the ATF.
Last year, the ATF investigated 35,790 firearms cases. That was on par with the 35,839 firearms cases the agency investigated in 2018. This after the ATF significantly increased the number of cases it pursued during Trump’s first year in office.
In 2016, the final year of the Obama administration, the ATF investigated 31,853 firearms cases. During Trump’s first year, the agency investigated 35,302. That was 3,349 more firearms cases than under Obama, a 10.81 percent increase.
Cases Recommended for Prosecution
The big jump we saw in 2019 was in the number of cases recommended for prosecution.
Last year, the ATF recommended 11,319 cased for prosecution. That compares with 10,691 cases recommended for prosecution in 2018, a 5.9 percent increase year-on-year. This continues an upward trend in prosecutions we’ve seen going back to the Obama years.
- 2019 – 11,319
- 2018 – 10,691
- 2017 – 9,591
- 2016 – 8,805
- 2015 – 7,516
- 2014 – 7,577
Since Trump has been in the White House, the number of cases recommended for prosecution has increased by 28.6 percent.
The number of cases leading to indictment also went up significantly last year. The ATF got indictments in 8,360 cases last year compared to 7,630 in 2018. In all, the feds indicted 12,441 defendants last year.
- 2019 – 8,360
- 2018 – 7,630
- 2017 – 7,137
- 2016 – 6,357
- 2015 – 5,503
- 2014 – 5,310
The number of cases leading to a conviction was up 20.4 percent year on year. In 2019, the ATF tallied 6,887 convicted cases compared with 5,485 the year before. In total, the federal government convicted 9,773 defendants in cases brought by the ATF.
- 2019 – 6,887
- 2018 – 5,485
- 2017 – 6,068
- 2016 – 5,517
- 2015 – 4,031
- 2014 – 4,482
The ATF also investigates arson, cases involving explosives, and alcohol and tobacco cases, but these make up a small percentage of the total. Under Trump, 92 percent of the cases investigated by the ATF have involved firearms. It was slightly less under Obama – 90 percent.
ATF enforcement of federal gun laws under Trump in year one increased at roughly the same trajectory as it did during the last three years of Obama’s second term and it has continued at roughly the same pace since. In other words, the NRA-backed, GOP protector of the Second Amendment has been no better than the Democratic Party gun-grabber.
For the Trumpists and other sycophants who think gun control would have been worse if Hillary had won, or that some form of “regulation” of our gun rights is constitutionally permitted, Maharrey says you’re wrong on both counts.
Some might argue it would have been worse if Hillary Clinton had won. Perhaps. But if you support the Second Amendment, don’t you find it problematic that the president who’s supposed to be the good guy continues to ratchet up enforcement of existing unconstitutional federal laws?
A true supporter of the right to keep and bear arms would do better.
And make no mistake; all federal gun control laws are unconstitutional.
Even among the strongest supporters of “gun rights,” most hold the view that the Second Amendment allows for “reasonable” federal regulation of firearms. But as originally understood, the Second Amendment includes no such exceptions. Constitutionally speaking, the federal government should not regulate the manufacture or private ownership of firearms.
There wasn’t an asterisk after “shall not be infringed.” No terms and conditions apply.
The bottom line is this: we can’t trust anyone in Washington, Republican or Democrat, to uphold the Second Amendment. And that is especially true of Donald Trump.
So the next time you hear Trump, the NRA, or a member of his cult tell you that we should support him in November because he’s the only one who will protect the gun rights he has already failed to protect, remember that he’s already done more damage to the Second Amendment than Obama ever has.
And be sure to tell them that Trump is, has been, and always will be pro-gun control and anti-Second Amendment.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.