Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday released a policy paper on gun ownership, titled “Protecting Our Second Amendment Rights Will Make America Great Again.”
Although it’s quite detailed, it can be summed up in the first, short paragraph:
“The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear,” Trump wrote. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.”
Trump also said he has a concealed-carry permit.
This marks the second position paper Trump has published. The first was on immigration reform.
Trump explained that the Second Amendment right is inalienable — that is, it does not grant the right to keep and bear arms, but rather affirms the right and says it cannot be taken away by the government.
“Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple,” he said.
He also described the Second Amendment as America’s “first freedom” because it’s the final protector of all rights.
Trump suggested three avenues of attack in approaching the rights of gun owners while protecting the public:
Enforce the laws on the books;
Repair our broken mental health system;
Defend the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
Trump began by criticizing Obama as being soft on violent crime.
Enforce the laws on the books
“We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals,” he said. “The Obama administration’s record on that is abysmal.”
“Violent crime in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and many others is out of control,” Trump said. “Drug dealers and gang members are given a slap on the wrist and then released. This needs to stop.”
He went on to describe a program called “Project Exile,” inaugurated in Richmond, Virginia, that dealt harshly with violent criminals who used firearms to commit crimes. The program was panned by former Attorney General Eric Holder as “cookie cutter,” although Richmond saw a dramatic decrease in murders.
Trump’s argument was simple: concentrate efforts on putting away violent criminals, but leave law-abiding citizens alone.
Fix Our Broken Mental Health System
“Too many politicians have ignored this problem for far too long. We can’t allow that to continue,” Trump said, referring to mass shootings committed by people with mental health issues.
“We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren’t violent, they just need help,” he added. “But for those who are violent, a danger to themselves or others, we need to get them off the street before they can terrorize our communities.”
Defend the Rights of Law-Abiding Gun Owners
In this section, Trump said he opposes gun and magazine bans.
“Gun and magazine bans are a total failure,” the outspoken billionaire said. “That’s been proven every time it’s been tried.”
He also suggested the federal background check system works only as well as the data plugged into it by states.
“Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system – and it should go without saying that a system’s only going to be as effective as the records that are put into it.”
Trump said he has a concealed-carry permit and would support a national right to carry a gun.
“A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed-carry permit should work in every state,” he argued. “If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed-carry, which is a right, not a privilege.”
Finally, in light of attacks at Fort Hood, Texas, the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard and, most recently, a recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Trump favors the right of military personnel to carry personal weapons for self-protection while at a military facility.
“To have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves,” he said.
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