President Trump: during the 2016 campaign, you spoke of your commitment to gun rights in every stump speech. It’s hardly an exaggeration to assert that gun owners and NRA members almost single-handedly provided the crucial margin of victory for you in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Yet your promise to protect the Second Amendment seems to have vanished into thin air.
Beginning with George H. W. Bush in 1989, US Presidents imposed a number of firearm and ammunition import bans by executive order. If these bans were imposed by executive order, they can be repealed by executive order. If Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election, we would not have expected any of these restrictions to be eased. She didn’t win, but the result seems to be the same. All the import bans remain in place. This is not what we expected from you. If you truly believe in the Second Amendment, why didn’t you overturn all of these obnoxious bans on day one? And now we hear that a new embargo has been imposed. There are reports in the press that the importation of Molot Vepr rifles from Russia has been stopped. This is the opposite of what we were promised!
National concealed-carry reciprocity is stalled in the Congress. Repeal of the ban on silencers is going nowhere. We understand that you’re saddled with what is perhaps the most ineffectual and useless Congress in history. Yet, you still have the redoubtable bully pulpit. You could be pounding the lectern, pushing Second Amendment reforms every day. But now that you’re in office, you are inexplicably silent on Second Amendment issues.
Last January, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk authored a White Paper that proposed several useful reforms to reduce the regulatory burden on gun owners and collectors, while not compromising public safety in any way. In other words, he laid out a blueprint for your administration. Yet you have failed to act on it–the same as if Barack Obama was still in the White House. A few days ago, congressman Chris Collins introduced the Second Amendment Guarantee Act, a bill that proposes to restore Second Amendment rights for people living in restrictive States like California or New York. Why haven’t you endorsed this legislation? It seems you can’t be bothered to even lift your little finger to protect the rights of your most ardent supporters.
Our Second Amendment rights have not just been “infringed,” they have been entirely abrogated by a host of outrageous laws dating back to the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. Why haven’t you called for repeal of the NFA? Repeal of the 1986 Hughes amendment that forbade the sale of new machine guns? Repeal of the “sporting purposes” clause in the Gun Control Act of 1968? If you truly believe that there should be no gun bans, why do you continue to implicitly support all these existing transgressions on the Second Amendment?
The states of Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts have legalized recreational marijuana. Yet marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Under the Obama administration, the US Justice department adopted a policy of non-enforcement. Recreational marijuana use in the aforementioned states proceeds unimpeded by any federal action. Apparently this is also the de facto policy of the Trump administration. All well and good. As a libertarian, I favor drug legalization. Live and let live.
So answer me this. Why does your administration continue to enforce the NFA ban on machine guns and silencers, while giving a free pass to potheads? There’s no constitutional right to marijuana, but all the dope smokers get a wink and a nod. Our Constitution explicitly forbids any infringement on gun rights, yet your administration continues to prosecute people for merely exercising a constitutional right. If you’re going to stand down on marijuana, why not on guns? Are we not entitled to equal protection under the law?
I concede that a couple good things have happened during the short time you’ve been in office. Judge Gorsuch has only been on the Supreme Court a few months, yet every indication is that his appointment was a home run. You repealed the so-called Social Security gun ban. Thus the record of your administration on Second Amendment issues is not a complete failure–it’s only a ninety-percent washout.
You’re running out of time to turn this around. Unless some dramatic things happen pretty quickly, the Republican Party is headed for the greatest midterm defeat in American political history. If you continue to disappoint, all of your most ardent supporters will stay home. If you think it’s difficult to get your agenda through today’s Republican Congress, imagine what it will be like with the Democrats in control. We want to support you, but you’re making it very difficult.