Trump’s NRA speech highlights his opposition to background check laws for gun purchases - TAI News
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The National Rifle Association announced on Jan. 22 that former President Donald Trump would be featured as a keynote speaker at the organization’s presidential forum on Feb. 9 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. While in office, Trump opposed enhanced background checks for gun purchases, regulation that the NRA also opposes.

The organization noted in its release that Trump has repeatedly spoken before the NRA since becoming a political figure in 2015 and praised him for being “a steadfast advocate for the NRA, the Second Amendment, and self-defense rights.”

In 2019, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. The legislation would have required background checks for gun sales between private individuals. Under current law, such exchanges can avoid a background check requirement through what is  called the “gun show loophole.”

Before the bill was voted on, Trump said he would veto it if it was passed by Congress. The Senate, which had a Republican majority at the time, declined to hold a vote on the bill.

On its website, the NRA claims “background checks don’t necessarily stop criminals from getting firearms.”

But that isn’t true, according to the Department of Justice.

President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2021, the first major federal gun safety legislation to become law in 30 years. Among the provisions in the law is a requirement that an enhanced background check be performed for firearms purchasers under the age of 21.

“In the 19 months since the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the law’s expanded background checks have already kept 500 firearms out of the hands of young people who are prohibited from having them,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Jan. 5 statement.

The FBI said that the background check provisions of the law had prevented 1,900 firearms from being obtained by people considered dangerous and by those otherwise prohibited from purchasing or owning firearms.

“Congress must enact universal background checks, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, end the gun industry’s immunity from liability, and pass a national red flag law. There are already too many empty seats around family tables. It is fully within our power to stop this epidemic,” Biden said on Jan. 5.

Most Pennsylvania residents support background checks.

In a poll of Pennsylvania voters conducted April 5-8, 2022, by Public Policy Polling, 83% of respondents said they supported background checks on purchasers in all gun sales. When asked if they were more or less likely to support a political candidate who opposed enhanced checks, 58% said it would make them less likely to do so.

Trump has a history of minimizing or deriding gun safety efforts, even following mass shootings.

Following the 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, Trump expressed his continuing opposition to gun safety laws.

Speaking at an NRA event three days after the killings, Trump said, “Sadly, before the sun had even set on the horrible day of tragedy, we witnessed a now familiar parade of cynical politicians seeking to exploit the tears of sobbing families to increase their own power and take away our constitutional rights.”

At an NRA event in April 2023, Trump blamed mental health issues, the use of marijuana, and transgender people for mass shootings, but not guns.

After a Jan. 4 shooting at a high school near Des Moines, Iowa, that killed one student and wounded several others, Trump said: “It’s just horrible – so surprising to see it here. But we have to get over it. We have to move forward.”

The NRA has spent millions of dollars since 2016 to support Trump’s presidential campaigns and those of other Republican candidates. The organization has also been involved in several scandals.

A 2016 Senate report described the NRA as a “foreign asset” for Russia following the disclosure that the organization had financed introductions for Russian nationals with ties to the Kremlin who were seeking access to officials in the Republican Party.

In 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the NRA after an investigation concluded that the group was “fraught with fraud and abuse.” The NRA’s then-CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre was accused in the suit of using NRA funds to benefit himself and other insiders. On Jan. 5, LaPierre announced he was stepping down from the organization, which he had led since 1991.

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The Pennsylvania Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.