Now that Donald Trump has officially become the Republican Party's nominee for president, the stage is set for a showdown between him and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. And one of the issues they're sure to debate? Guns.
In Refinery29's Vote Your Values poll, conducted this spring in partnership with ABC News, a little more than 1 in 10 millennial women voters said gun rights were the most important issue for them this election among the issues polled. If you're one of those voters for whom the right to bear arms is a deal breaker, it may make your decision this November a lot easier: Trump and Clinton have markedly different stances on this hot-button issue.
Read on to learn more about Trump's position, and if you're curious about Clinton's platform, you can check it out here.
Where does he stand?
Trump is strongly in favor of the Second Amendment and people's right to have pretty much whatever guns they choose. The GOP candidate advocates against banning types of guns or magazine sizes, calling such bans "a total failure" on his campaign website. He supports expanding gun permits to a national system, in which a permit to carry issued in one state would be valid throughout the country. He is against expanding background checks, and instead, advocates for fixing the system he calls "broken" for its incomplete records and databases.
On the subject of mass shootings, Trump advocates for doing away with gun-free spaces, such as those around schools, and has called them "targets for the sickos." Instead, he advocates for better mental health treatment to catch mass shooters before they commit a crime. He's also suggested that America would be better to focus on "radical Islamic terrorism" as a deterrent to mass attacks as opposed to restricting gun ownership.
What has he done?
When it comes to gun rights, Trump puts his money where his mouth is. The GOP candidate has said that he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and sometimes takes his gun with him around New York City. Trump has never held public office and hasn’t worked to implement a platform yet, but as a business owner, he seems to have straddled the fence. In a debate earlier in his campaign, it was revealed that a number of his eponymous Trump resorts did not allow guns on their premises, with or without a permit, according to Reuters. Trump said he would change that policy.
Who’s on his side…
In late May, Trump was endorsed by the gun-advocacy group, the National Rifle Association, at their annual leadership forum, where the executive director of the group's lobbying arm, Chris Cox, called on the NRA's members to join together to vote for Trump. "Now is the time to unite. If your preferred candidate got out of the race, it's time to get over it," Cox said at the time.
Trump touted his NRA endorsement during his speech at the Republican National Convention this week, saying that, unlike Clinton, he "received the early and strong endorsement of the National Rifle Association."
…And who's not.
Despite the endorsement, Trump has had a mixed relationship with the NRA. He was heavily criticized by members of the organization for previously supporting the ban on assault weapons in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve.
"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," he wrote then. The pro-gun lobbying organization also blasted him for comments in the wake of the June shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, when he insinuated that the shooting could have been stopped by someone with a gun at the club.
Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist, later said that drinking at a nightclub with a firearm "defies common sense."
What does he have to say about guns?
After the November 2015 attack on Paris that left 130 people dead, Trump said that if people in the Bataclan club had been armed, it would have gone differently. "If you would’ve had guns on the other side… There wouldn’t have been 130 people killed and hundreds of people lying in the hospital to this day," he said in his speech to the NRA in May. "There would — it might not have happened. Because if [the attackers] knew there were guns in the room, it might not have happened. But if it did, you would’ve had bullets going in the opposite direction, and believe me, the carnage would not have been the same by any stretch of the imagination."
How would his policies impact you?
If Trump is elected and able to enact all of his policy proposals, the current restrictions on guns could be both tightened and loosened. If he was able to reform the system of background checks to fill the gaps in its records, it would be harder for those with criminal records to buy guns in stores. But it would remain easy to legally buy firearms in private sales. At the same time, it would become a lot easier to be a gun owner, once you have one — a licensed gun owner would be able to legally carry his or her gun more or less anywhere.
Of course, all of these policies would rely on the Republican Party also maintaining control of Congress — something that is not guaranteed. So whatever your stance on gun policy, it's important to get out and vote.