President Donald Trump is now the first sitting President to address the National Rifle Association since Ronald Reagan in 1983. His speech affirmed his support of gun ownership and Second Amendment rights in the United States.
President Trump opened his speech by reliving Election Day last year, when he won his office. Trump acknowledged the NRA’s legislative efforts by saying that “The NRA protects in our capitols and legislative houses the freedoms that our service members have won for us on those incredible battlefields.”
He went on:
The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. You have a true friend and champion in the White House. No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners. No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans…Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God.
So far, so good. Trump continued:
We don’t want any longer to be ruled by the bureaucrats in Washington, or in any other country for that matter. In America, we are ruled by our citizens. We are ruled by each and every one of you. These are dangerous times. These are horrible times for certain obvious reasons. But we’re going to make them great times again. Every day, we are up against those who would take away our freedoms, restrict our liberties, and even those who want to abolish the Second Amendment. We must be vigilant.
The NRA members enjoyed the presence of the President they helped put in office, but there was some dissent elsewhere. A small protest was held in a park by non-NRA members, calling itself a “die-in.” Participants were there to protest gun deaths, and they called for “common sense gun control.”
As per his usual, Trump’s language is straight forward, with his usual touches of braggadocio. There seems to be nothing in Trump’s speech that should cause alarm.
However, as per their usual, our friends on the Left have wasted no time in freaking out about Trump’s words.
Kira Lerner at Think Progress claims that “President Trump echoed the language of an extreme, anti-government group during his speech” Lerner argued that Trump is echoing the speech of a patriotic “club” of sorts, called the Three Percenters Club. Their named themselves for the three percent of Americans who supported the War for Independence. They claim to support the Constitution, but do so by advocating for rebellion if officials attempt to confiscate their firearms.
Lerner’s claim, however, is inaccurate. Trump does not seem to be consciously echoing any particular group. Rather, he gave voice to an idea shared by many Americans: our right to keep and bear arms is fundamental. It is part of the American system of government, and is acknowledged by our Constitution. It should therefore be beyond the power of government to touch.
Trump is correct when he says that “We are ruled by each and every one of you.” This is the proper relationship of our government to us, the demos (people) of our republic.