At that time of this writing, we’re only a few days out from the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States of America. Some of you are celebrating, some of you are sad, some of you may be protesting that day. With that mixed bag of feelings in mind, I want to make it clear that this article isn’t about whether or not Trump is a good choice for president—we’ve all made up our minds on that one way or the other. This piece is about Second Amendment activism during Trump’s administration, and how we as a community need to approach the fight for our right to keep and bear arms.
Throughout his campaign, Trump’s been fairly consistent in supporting a rather strict interpretation of the Second Amendment as an individual right upon which the government shall not infringe. However, as with a great many positions taken by a great may presidential candidates, it’s a bit vague on particulars. There’s the promise to “fix” the NICS system and make background checks more efficient. There’s some vague language about getting criminals off the streets—including a call for a minimum five-year sentence for those convicted of violent gun crime. There’s even a bit about a national right to carry law. How is any of this going to pan out? Well, we don’t know yet—and we won’t know until there’s actual legislation under consideration by Congress. So what to do in the meantime?
I suggest caution and vigilance. Trump talks a good game when it comes to Second Amendment rights, but the devil is in the details and I can see ways in which some of his proposals could be harmful in the long run. Poorly written legislation may leave the NICS system open to abuse—it’s a small step from “background checks” to “nationwide registration”. Minimum sentencing laws are always tricky, and I can see a badly structured one catching more than a few innocent gun owners who were just trying to defend themselves and their loved ones. And that’s before we take into account that there’s still a strong, active anti-2A lobby with their hooks into Congress. Coupled with the growing schism between Trump and the GOP mainstream, we could be in for a wild ride.
So, going forward into a Trump administration, let’s focus on the following:
- Keep the pressure on your representatives in both DC and your state capitol. Phone calls seem to be the most effective way, so set aside one day a month to reach out to the legislatures working for you and let them know what you think. Be polite, be professional, and make your voice heard on the issues that matter to you.
- Support the organizations fighting for your rights. The NRA and GOA are popular choices, and you may have state-level groups as well.
- Keep up with the current laws in your state and locale. USA Carry is the definitive resource for existing CCW laws, but you’ll need to watch pending legislation as well. I suspect there will be a backlash of anti-2A bills making the rounds on the state level, so we need to be vigilant.
- Keep shooting, and keep introducing new shooters to shooting. Reaching out past the political and social divides that wrack this country can be difficult, but we’ve talked about ways to do it in the past.
I hope for the best from a Trump presidency. I’d like to believe that we will, in fact, make America great again. However an engaged, active citizenry is the only way to ensure that we preserve all the rights that define this nation. Please join us in fighting for them.