Trump Tells NRA Crowd He Remains Committed to Protecting Gun Rights

'Thanks to your activism and dedication you have an administration fighting to protect your Second Amendment'

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At the National Rifle Association's annual meeting on Friday, President Donald Trump assured a cheering crowd of supporters that he and his administration would remain committed to protecting gun rights.

During a wide-ranging speech that touched on gun policy, national anthem protests, Kanye West, the prosecution of his former campaign manager, illegal immigration, and North Korea, Trump said his administration is still committed to protecting gun rights and appointing pro-gun judges.

"Thanks to your activism and dedication you have an administration fighting to protect your Second Amendment," he said. "We will protect your Second Amendment."

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His comments on gun policy closely mirrored those he gave at last year's annual meeting where he also vowed to defend gun rights and touted his judicial appointments. Like last year, Trump also praised NRA members. He said the gun group's activists are doing everything they can to protect the Second Amendment.

"You give your time, your energy, your vote, and your voice to stand strong for those sacred rights given to us by God," Trump said. "Including the right to self-defense."

Still, he told the crowd that "your Second Amendment Rights are under siege" and they "better get out and vote."

Trump has enjoyed strong support from the NRA since he secured the Republican nomination in 2016. The group ran $30 million worth of ads opposing Democratic nominee and gun-control proponent Hillary Clinton and supporting Trump. The group said he was the best presidential candidate on gun policy in the last century.

"In Donald Trump we have a candidate, I would argue, that's the most forceful Republican nominee for president in the last 100 years when it comes to not only gun ownership but the lawful use of guns for self-defense," Chris Cox, a top NRA executive, told the Free Beacon at the time. "He's been unapologetic. He's pointed out a very different path forward on guns than Hillary Clinton."

Trump has mostly praised the gun-rights group during his tenure as president but did chide some senators for being "afraid of the NRA" and said he would consider supporting a number of gun-control policies in a publicly televised meeting on gun violence during February. The NRA issued a statement shortly after calling the meeting "great TV" but "bad policy. Trump backed away from support of new gun-control laws after a meeting with NRA leadership a short time later.

Trump assured the NRA crowd during his speech that Second Amendment rights "will never ever be under siege as long as I am president."

He then ended his speech by quoting the Gonzalez flag. "Come and take it," Trump said, as chants of "USA!" filled the arena. "Like those early Texans, Americans will never surrender. We will never give up our freedom. Americans were born free, we live free, and we will die free."