The Second Amendment in the Trump Era

Under the Obama administration, there was much concern regarding Americans’ Second Amendment right to bear arms. Republicans, as always, were intent on protecting this right, but it seems as though the fervor was heightened during much of the last decade. A simple Google search for “will Obama take guns” turns up over 5 million results.

Obama was certainly not the most anti-gun president in history, as the NRA suggested he would be during his 2008 bid for president. However, in 2015, he did create some regulations via executive action that allowed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to “crack down” on online firearms merchants without federal background check licensing. The notion that a firearms merchant would have to apply for a license from the federal government in order to be granted permission to conduct background checks on voluntary participants seeking to buy weapons seems asinine to any liberty-minded individual, but perhaps that’s fodder for another article. In any case, Obama was not particularly tough on guns.

He did, however, ruffle some feathers late in his second term when he squeezed through some legislation that required the Social Security Administration to provide records of people with mental illnesses to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s right to privacy. Furthermore, this is a violation of the Fifth Amendment, which does not allow for the deprivation of property without due process of law. Obama also floated the idea that he would ban those on the No-Fly List from purchasing weapons, supporting a House bill called “No-Fly, No Buy,” which didn’t even make it to the Senate. This, too, would have been an egregious Fifth Amendment violation, as average citizens regularly end up on the No-Fly list due to clerical errors and other big government bureaucratic errors. For his part, President Trump condemned the “No-Fly, No Buy” legislation and quickly squashed the Social Security legislation in early 2017.

Obama may not have been the anti-gun villain of which he was accused, but the gun debate in America certainly intensified during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton willfully painted herself as the “anti-gun” candidate, vocally supporting the aforementioned “No-Fly, No Buy” proposal, as well as advocating for manufacturer liability relating to gun sales and dismantling the dubious “gun lobby.” Manufacturer liability is extremely unpopular given that simple logic would allow one to understand that the gun maker cannot control how its product is used. We don’t sue automobile companies for fatal car crashes. Not to mention that you are far more likely to die in a car accident than you are by being shot. But Clinton supported the proposal nonetheless.

To make matters worse, leaked emails revealed that Clinton was also in favor of closing the “gun show loophole” via executive order, though this particular action would have had minimal consequences considering that the “gun show loophole” is a myth. Only leftists who have never been to a gun show or never owned (and perhaps never even held) a weapon believe that one can simply stroll into a gun show and purchase a firearm without going through a background check. Every single legal gun dealer in America, no matter the location of the sale, must be a Federal Firearms Licensee, which requires them to conduct a federal background check on the customer.

In any case, it is stunning that a presidential candidate would plan on revoking gun rights by executive order, and this is why we saw gun sales skyrocket during the 2016 presidential campaign. In fact, in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton presidency, more weapons were purchased in 2016 than in any year in history, making Clinton the best gun salesperson the world has ever seen.

Accordingly, gun prices soared due to the increased demand. Smith & Wesson has actually seen a 20% stock decrease since Hillary lost the election, according to a totally unbiased CNN article classically titled “How President Trump is Bad for the Gun Industry.” Moreover, ammunition sales have dropped by 20% as well since President Trump was elected.

Louis Frutuoso, owner of Standard Manufacturing in Connecticut, had this to say on the subject:

“The landscape of the gun industry has changed dramatically. All the gun manufacturers were essentially hedging their bets on Hillary getting in. To that end, all the gun manufacturers produced and produced and produced a lot of guns. President Trump won the election, and now people aren’t compelled to purchase firearms because now it’s a pro-gun kind of government. There’s going to be a lot of guns in the pipe for a great long period, simply because of the course of events leading to this.”

Clearly, folks aren’t running out to purchase weapons like they were when Democrats controlled (or were in position to control) the government.

So, from that perspective, the gun industry caught a bad break. But other than that, a pro-gun president is ideal, right?

Well, maybe.

There has been little-to-no news on guns since President Trump took office. Other than his promise to the NRA to “stop the eight year assault” on gun rights, all has been quiet on the gun front.

Though I have no doubts that President Trump will protect the Second Amendment dutifully for as long as he is in office, there is an inherent danger that must be recognized in resting on our laurels as gun-owning American citizens.

Consider the size and scope of the federal government. It is so massive and unbelievably unchecked in its power that it would be dangerous for the citizenry to cease purchasing weapons. Last year, the feds purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. We have massive debt and inflation, run up by unelected bureaucrats in the Federal Reserve, which Congress does not have the authority to oversee. We have $128 trillion in unfunded liabilities from big government programs like Medicare and Social Security. Riots in the streets have become ubiquitous. All of this could spell recipe for disaster.

The situation may look favorable at the moment in terms of gun legislation, but we are still very much in the grasp of a potentially tyrannical federal government. We are still in a tough economic situation with the risk of hyperinflation, a new housing bubble, and a dangerous student debt crisis. Civil unrest could engulf our towns in a heartbeat. Americans must keep each of these uncomfortable ideas in mind as we continue through the Trump presidency.

It is not simply our responsibility, but our duty as citizens to maintain a well-regulated militia that is capable of defending this nation from the dangers of big government tyranny. Now is not the time to discontinue the practice of arming ourselves. The election of a pro-gun president does not exempt us from our duty to purchase weapons and stockpile ammunition. Get them while the getting is good; it’s impossible to know what dangers lurk in the shadows.

Follow the author on Twitter: @pdabrosca


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