Justice

Donald Trump Has A New Gun Plan, And It’s Just As Crazy As You Think

CREDIT: AP Photo/Mike Groll

Donald Trump speaks during a gun rights rally at the Empire State Plaza on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Albany, N.Y.

Donald Trump imagines a world where regular citizens can buy automatic weapons; where gun owners can hide their weapons in any state; where there are no expanded background checks for gun purchases; and where citizens fight crime with their own assault rifles.

That’s at least according to Trump’s position statement on guns, which he released on Friday. In it, the Republican presidential candidate laid out a vision on the Second Amendment similar to the one held by the National Rifle Association, which opposes new gun control measures and advocates instead for stricter enforcement of existing laws.

“The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear,” Trump’s statement reads. “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.”

A few parts of Trump’s statement focus on concealed carry, or the right for gun owners to walk around in public with their weapons hidden. He advocated for a federal law that mimicks a driver’s license — in other words, if you get a concealed carry permit in one state, it should be enforceable in other states. Currently, there is no federal law addressing this — though all 50 states allow concealed carry with some type of permit, each permit has different terms, and is only enforceable in the state in which it was given.

This position is particularly personal to Trump. “Our personal protection is ultimately up to us,” his statement reads. “That’s why I’m a gun owner, that’s why I have a concealed carry permit, and that’s why tens of millions of Americans have concealed carry permits as well.”

Personal protection was another theme of Trump’s plan, which advocated “empowering” citizens to defend themselves and fight crime with their own weapons. “Here’s another important way to fight crime — empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves,” his plan reads. “Law enforcement is great, they do a tremendous job, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time.”

Not only does Trump want citizens to fight crime, but he wants them to have better, more powerful guns to do it.

“Gun and magazine bans are a total failure,” he wrote. “Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons,’ ‘military-style weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans.”

“Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice,” he added. “The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.”

This isn’t totally new ground for Trump, who has been pro-gun for a long time. But he wasn’t always against some of these restrictions. In 2000, Trump criticized Republicans for “walk[ing] the NRA line and refus[ing] even limited restrictions” on guns. In the same year, he also said he supported banning assault weapons and expanding background checks. “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he said at the time. “With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.”

His previous positions can be seen in Trump’s own business dealings. A ThinkProgress investigation in August revealed that, despite Trump’s current advocacy for gun-free zones, a number of Trump’s hotels and golf courses are gun-free zones — even for guests with concealed-carry permits.

Instead of placing restrictions on firearms or endorsement more stringent background checks, Trump’s new plan focuses on expanding access to mental health care — though it does lack specifics on how much funds should be allocated, and what type of treatment programs should be focused on. Instead, it just says this: “We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren’t violent, they just need help.”