Donald Trump has published a piece detailing his position on Second Amendment rights. I've excerpted below.
Enforce The Laws On The Books
We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals. The Obama administration’s record on that is abysmal. Violent crime in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and many others is out of control. Drug dealers and gang members are given a slap on the wrist and turned loose on the street. This needs to stop.
Several years ago there was a tremendous program in Richmond, Virginia called Project Exile. It said that if a violent felon uses a gun to commit a crime, you will be prosecuted in federal court and go to prison for five years – no parole or early release. Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, called that a “cookie cutter” program. That’s ridiculous. I call that program a success. Murders committed with guns in Richmond decreased by over 60% when Project Exile was in place – in the first two years of the program alone, 350 armed felons were taken off the street.
Why does that matter to law-abiding gun owners? Because they’re the ones who anti-gun politicians and the media blame when criminals misuse guns. We need to bring back and expand programs like Project Exile and get gang members and drug dealers off the street. When we do, crime will go down and our cities and communities will be safer places to live.
Here’s another important way to fight crime – empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves. Law enforcement is great, they do a tremendous job, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time. Our personal protection is ultimately up to us. 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. It’s just common sense. To make America great again, we’re going to go after criminals and put the law back on the side of the law-abiding.
Good answer. The justice system is too soft on repeat offenders who illegally possess and illegally use firearms. I've written about this extensively, especially here as it relates to my hometown of St. Louis.
Fix Our Broken Mental Health System
Let’s be clear about this. Our mental health system is broken. It needs to be fixed. Too many politicians have ignored this problem for too long.
All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored. We can’t allow that to continue. We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren’t violent, they just need help. But for those who are violent, a danger to themselves or others, we need to get them off the street before they can terrorize our communities. This is just common sense.
And why does this matter to law-abiding gun owners? Once again, because they get blamed by anti-gun politicians, gun control groups and the media for the acts of deranged madmen. When one of these tragedies occurs, we can count on two things: one, that opponents of gun rights will immediately exploit it to push their political agenda; and two, that none of their so-called “solutions” would have prevented the tragedy in the first place. They’ve even admitted it.
We need real solutions to address real problems. Not grandstanding or political agendas.
Agree to an extent, but a question: Is our mental health system broken or is it a problem of incompetency by those entrusted to follow the process of mental adjudication? I've written how the Virginia Tech murderer was mentally unstable and no one followed up. From my piece:
In December of 2005 the New River Valley Community Services Board declared that he was mentally ill and “in need of hospitalization.” Somehow it was recommended that he receive treatment as an outpatient and he was released but was court-ordered to follow all medical recommendations and continue to seek outpatient treatment. Though the New River Valley Community Services Board was required by the court to monitor him and Cho was ordered to continue treatment, neither party was compliant. Cho never received the court-ordered treatment needed, the board never followed up, and he was never summoned back to court.
My question to Trump is this: What mental health programs need to be expanded and how is that achieved financially (we've spent a trillion dollars on Obamacare which was supposed to have solved this) and without expanding the reach of government? What is the solution?
Defend The Rights of Law-Abiding Gun Owners
GUN AND MAGAZINE BANS. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. 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. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.
BACKGROUND CHECKS. There has been a national background check system in place since 1998. Every time a person buys a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer – which is the overwhelming majority of all gun purchases – they go through a federal background check. Study after study has shown that very few criminals are stupid enough to try and pass a background check – they get their guns from friends/family members or by stealing them. So the overwhelming majority of people who go through background checks are law-abiding gun owners. When the system was created, gun owners were promised that it would be instant, accurate and fair. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today. Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system – and it should go without saying that a system’s only going to be as effective as the records that are put into it. What we need to do is fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.
No FFL (federal firearms licensee) is going to risk their classification for a questionable sale. The only rare instance that a transaction occurs sans FFL is through inheritance or, as an example when my husband purchased a hunting rifle for our oldest son. Regardless of FFL—it is a violation of federal law to sell a firearm to a prohibited possessor. Furthermore, if you are a prohibited possessor it is illegal to purchase a firearm if you are barred from legal carry in your state of residence. There is absolutely zero statistics which support the uneducated claim that crimes resulting from criminal use of firearms originates from law-abiding Americans who legally purchase firearms. Period. My only issue with this part of Trump's statement is that it did not highlight this reality more.
NATIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.
Great answer. My follow-up question: Does Trump support Constitutional Carry?
MILITARY BASES AND RECRUITING CENTERS. Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We train our military how to safely and responsibly use firearms, but our current policies leave them defenseless. To make America great again, we need a strong military. To have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves.
I hope that Trump can speak to the questions above while on the campaign trail.