President-elect Donald Trump wasted no time during Sunday evening’s “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl in reiterating his promise to appoint pro-Second Amendment justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, a promise that undoubtedly brought millions of gun owners to the polls last week.
But just because Trump is promising a stable future for the amendment and the high court, that’s no reason for American gun owners to relax, fold up their tents and go home. To the contrary, this may be the time for increased energy and financial support for gun rights groups such as the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) to press their legal efforts.
Gun rights organizations made it clear earlier this year immediately following the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia that the future of the Second Amendment was on the line in this year’s elections. The National Rifle Association endorsed Trump in May, warning members at the same time that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be a disaster for the individual right to keep and bear arms.
In electing Trump, voters also retained Republican control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. This should give Trump a clear road to push some of the ideas he expressed on the campaign trail, such as nationwide concealed carry reciprocity. Michael Bloomberg’s gun prohibition lobbying group, Everytown for Gun Safety, is in a panic.
In an e-mail blast over the weekend, Everytown admitted that “Trump’s election is a big blow to all of us.” That message, sent over the name of Brina Milikowsky, chief strategy officer for the group, added, “I’m not going to lie to you, this will be a tough four years.”
Second Amendment activists can fire right back that the past eight years have seen a constant barrage of anti-gun rhetoric from the White House on down. The Obama administration tried to blame a major scandal – Operation Fast and Furious – on gun owners and retailers. Bloomberg and other wealthy elitists have literally purchased elections to push so-called “universal background checks,” which critics insist are little more than back door gun registration schemes.
Stahl appeared unperturbed when Trump told her, “in terms of the whole gun situation, we know the Second Amendment and everybody’s talking about the Second Amendment and they’re trying to dice it up and change it, they’re (Supreme Court appointments) going to be very pro-Second Amendment.”
Does that mean the fight is over? As noted above, now might be the ideal time for SAF, NRA and other groups to press their legal battles. SAF’s motto has been “Winning Firearms Freedom One Lawsuit at a Time.” Still undecided by the Supremes is the matter of right to carry.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year ruled that the Second Amendment does not protect concealed carry. Common sense suggests this translates to open carry being protected, because the right to bear arms cannot possibly be confined to the home, gun advocates contend.
Trump’s promise to protect the Second Amendment and fill high court vacancies with pro-rights justices is making anti-gunners fume. They, along with the mainstream media, fully expected a Clinton coronation. Instead, they face a gun rights resurgence.