LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.
Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.
“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” Trump said, repeating the NRA leadership’s claim that Hillary Clinton will dismantle the Second Amendment.
“I will not let you down,” he said to the roughly 80,000 gun-owning NRA members. “Remember that, I will not let you down.”
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre has also lambasted gun-free zones, saying often that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” The group claims that fewer violent shootings occur in areas where guns are allowed and that terrorists specifically target locations where guns are not permitted.
But the facts prove otherwise. From 2000 to 2013, 21 active shootings were stopped by unarmed citizens, while just one was stopped by an armed civilian. And only 13 percent of mass shootings from January 2009 to July 2015 took place in a gun-free zone.
It’s no surprise that Trump’s promise came straight of the NRA’s playbook — shortly after launching his campaign, he released a Second Amendment plan which was also almost word-for-word a copy of the NRA’s agenda.
Trump’s speech was just the first step in his plan to win over the gun lobby, a group which has been skeptical about his candidacy because of his previous support for a ban on assault weapons and longer waiting periods before people can buy firearms. Bob Owens, who runs the website Bearing Arms and was hosting the NRA’s event, wrote that “Donald Trump will be the death of the Second Amendment.” And another pro-gun hub, The Truth About Guns, has asked if Trump is an “anti-gun rights dictator.”
Buzzfeed reported Friday that Trump is set to meet with Republican members of Congress and NRA leadership in Washington, D.C. next week. Chris Cox, director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said the discussion will focus on “hunting and related issues in the sportsmen’s community.”
But Trump’s support for the Second Amendment extends beyond just hunters and sportsmen,.
“This is the most basic human right of all, and Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” Trump said. “I’m going to guarantee that law-abiding citizens have the right to self defense, 100 percent.”