Donald Trump will deliver a speech to thousands of NRA members at an annual meeting in Kentucky this week. But he wasn’t always so pro-gun.
Trump likes to talk up his concealed carry permit. His campaign site trumpets that “protecting our Second Amendment rights will make America great again.” He opposes any form of gun control and any expansion of the national background check system.
“The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear,” says Trump on his site. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.”
But his position on gun control has changed somewhat over the years. He supported the so-called assault weapon ban when it was still active, and he also wanted longer waiting periods for gun purchases. These views, which Trump published 16 years ago, are anathema to the National Rifle Association.
“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” wrote Trump in his 2000 book “The America We Deserve.”
The ban, which applied to military-style semiautomatic rifles with a magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds, ran from 1994 until it expired in 2004. Since the ban lifted, this type of rifle with high-capacity magazines has been used in multiple mass shootings, including Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, earlier that year, and San Bernardino, California, in 2015.
But now, Trump opposes any sort of restriction on them. “Gun and magazine bans are a total failure,” he says on his site.
Rather than impose gun control on law-abiding citizens, he wants to imprison gun-toting violent criminals for longer periods of time. Rather than expand background checks, he wants to fix the current system, which he says is “broken.”
He also dismisses “scary sounding phrases” like “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines,” which are only meant to “confuse people.” Instead, he calls them “popular semi-automatic rifles” and “standard magazines.”
When asked about his changing stance, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks directed CNNMoney to his campaign site, which “clearly outlines his views.”
Trump’s current views on guns and gun control is fairly typical for a Republican or an NRA member, which is something he wrote about in 2000:
“The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions,” he wrote.