President Trump Highlights Pro-Gun Accomplishments in Speech to Raucous NRA Crowd

Promises to be a champion of the 2nd Amendment while in office

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with National Rifle Association (NRA) President Wayne LaPierre
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with National Rifle Association (NRA) President Wayne LaPierre / Getty Images
April 28, 2017

President Donald Trump highlighted his gun rights record to a cheering crowd at the National Rifle Association's Annual Meeting on Friday.

"Let me make a simple promise to every one of the freedom-loving Americans in the audience today: As your president, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms," Trump said to a standing ovation. "Never ever. Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God."

Trump touted his administration's rollback of several Obama-era gun regulations, specifically citing the repeal of a ban on gun ownership for certain Social Security disability recipients as well as a ban on the use of traditional lead-based ammunition on some government lands. He then turned his attention to perhaps his biggest gun-related accomplishment to date: appointing NRA-approved nominee Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

"When I spoke to this forum last year, our nation was still mourning the loss of a giant, a great defender of the Constitution: Justice Antonin Scalia," Trump said. "I promised that if elected, I would nominate a justice who would be faithful and loyal to the Constitution. I even went one step further and publicly presented a list of 20 judges from which I would make my selection, and that’s exactly what we did. "

The crowd cheered again. Many of the thousands of attendees stood throughout the speech and cheered continuously at both Trump's gun-related remarks and his remarks about other political priorities, like dealing with illegal immigration and prosecuting gang members. The speech was received with the kind of energy and excitement more common to a campaign rally than an annual political conference.

One of the biggest rounds of applause came when Trump assured the crowd that his record on guns will not be like his predecessors.

"But we have news that you’ve been waiting for a long time: The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," Trump said. "You have a true friend and champion in the White House."

Trump did not address whether or not he would prioritize support for any of the gun legislation, like national reciprocity or silencer reform, currently pending in congress. However, he did assure the crowd he had their interest in mind.

"To the NRA, I can proudly say I will never, ever let you down," Trump said.