Primary Arms

Your Obligatory Post Election Ramblings...


The votes have been largely tallied, and the decision is in. Donald J Trump will be the 45th President of the United States of America…

In a stunning upset, “the Donald” beat all expectations, and beat Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton during the general election. Plagued by controversy about his personal and professional conduct, Trump’s victory was considered unlikely at best.

Personally, I didn’t think he was going to win. I had, in my head, a draft of an article, tentatively titled “Things to prepare for with an HRC presidency…”, even. So it was with shock that I woke up around 2 AM (my wife and I decided to forgo the election night TV binge…) to see that Trump had eclipsed Clinton by a slim margin. By 3 AM, Trump had declared victory after an admittedly magnanimous HRC had called him personally to concede.

As I’m a registered Libertarian who votes on party principles, including a staunch adherence to the Second, I was admittedly unprepared to deal with a President who carries the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. I got back into guns during Obama’s current tenure, and never really considered what having a pro-2A President would be like.

I’m sure it would be a grand thing, actually.

Trump may not be as pro-2A as he seems

Donald Trump is a recent convert to the Republican Party. Originally he was a registered Democrat, and that party’s hostility to the Second is well-known. Trump was a moderate on gun control in most regards. He supported the continuation of the assault weapons ban in the early 2000s, as well as mandatory waiting periods.

On the other side of the coin, he claims to have a concealed carry permit. Whether this is true, we don’t know. He could possess a rare-as-hen’s-teeth New York City permit, or possibly a Florida CWFL since he has a home in Palm Beach.

So is he pro-2A? Maybe. His conversion to the Republican ticket is too recent, and his tendencies towards demagoguery are well-documented for myself and many other firearms owners to completely trust him. Yes, he has the endorsement of the NRA, but that is most likely a matter of political expediency. Trump knew locking down the NRA nod would garner him millions of votes. So, he went for it. Nevermind the free press from the traditionally anti-gun media. Art of the Deal, people. It’s all in there. Do something outrageous and get free advertising.

Trump has a long way to go to prove his trustworthiness to the firearms community, and yes, the American people as a whole.

What could happen

What could happen with a Trump presidency with regards to guns? My two-second answer: not a whole lot.

My extended answer…

At the least, Trump’s ascendancy to the hot seat, along with a Republican majority in Congress means the “gun issue” is going to fall by the wayside for a bit. Barring an unfortunate shooting incident, guns will quietly fade back to a secondary issue for most people. Trump also will most likely appoint a conservative judge to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia’s upon his death a few months ago. The 2A community gets some breathing room, albeit at the expense of dealing with a highly volatile and controversial President.

2018 could prove to change things though. A resurgent Democratic Party could take a majority in Congress, and the gun issue could be bought to the forefront again. Republican Presidents have supported and signed gun bills in the past. Reagan did nothing to stop the Hughes Amendment in 1986. That law banned the sale and transfer of newly-manufactured machine guns to civilians in the US. Bush I supported the 1994 AWB. Nixon considered guns to be abomination, and wanted handguns banned, along with registration of sporting weapons.

Could Trump “turn”? He could. Faced with the specter of reelection in 2020, he could choose to sign off on anti-gun bills for legislative and popular favor, especially if his first two years in office prove to further alienate him from even his staunchest apologists. Trump may prize the office over principle. We don’t know.

What we need to do

We need to hold Donald Trump accountable for all his actions while in office, and also push him and the legislature to take action on firearms in a pro-2A manner. He claims to be a friend of the scene and industry, let’s hold his feet to the fire and put him to work. I’d love to see the Hearing Protection Act signed into law. Getting suppressors off the NFA would be a wonderful thing. Whether Trump signs it, or it passes by a veto override, it needs to happen. I’d also like to see further action on paring down the NFA. In my mind, we’ve got two years to work, so we need to get down to it.

Handle with care

As gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment, we have to approach Donald Trump, and every other politician, with care. By their nature, politicians are a very patronizing bunch. They’ll craft their message to get your attention and your vote. At the end of the day, the firearms community, and the American public as a whole, needs to let them know we’re not as easily-manipulated as they think.


Mr Trump - congrats. You overcame a multitude of hurdles to get to the hot seat. Women generally hate you. Hispanics are horrified by you. LGBT folk are suspicious of you. Even those who voted for you have their reservations. My advice? Stay calm, keep you hands off the Tweet button, and just realize what you accomplished. The world is watching. And more importantly, us in the firearms community are watching. We’re the most politically-active liberty-minded group of malcontents in the country, and we make things happen. Just remember that, play nice with others, and you’ll do fine.


The Regular Guy Who Didn’t Vote For You.

– Yes, I’ll get back to nonpolitical stuff after this.