I listened to Donald Trump’s speech at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum yesterday. Two things stood out for me. First, and most important, I really do believe that Trump understands the issues surrounding the Second Amendment and gun rights. In his speech he referenced the makeup of the Supreme Court, judges, concealed carry permits, the threats to the Second Amendment, self-defense, and gun free zones.
The latter two, self-defense and gun free zones, are two areas that he really highlighted. Noting the Paris Massacre in a gun free zone, Trump said he doubted that it would have gone on long if held at the Annual Meeting due to the number of armed citizens. (As a sidebar, due to the Secret Service and their protective rules, Trump *was* speaking in a gun free zone.) Trump spoke of single moms in Florida and grandmothers in Ohio that would be left defenseless if Hillary was elected. That lead to his newest nickname for Clinton as “Heartless Hillary”. Though, he admits, he still really likes “Crooked Hillary.”
Second, listening to a Trump speech is an exercise in patience. This is not because of what he says but how he says it. The man has a severe case of attention deficit disorder when it comes to public speaking. He’d start out on a topic and then …SQUIRREL! and he’d be off on a tangent. He makes some good points but he can be damn hard to follow.
I read some discussion yesterday on Sebastian’s blog on whether or not the NRA should have endorsed Trump. In my opinion, the NRA did not have much of a choice. They deal in realpolitik. Their avowed foe Hillary Clinton has doubled down and made gun control, the Second Amendment, and the NRA her number one target.
This is a two-person race unless Bernie decides to run as an independent which Trump encouraged in his speech. The NRA has to pull conservatives who supported other candidates and gun owners who don’t trust Trump back into the fold. Without them, Hillary most likely will win and the Second Amendment will be lost as an actual civil right. It will become a historical artifact. That is something the NRA can’t live with and I certainly won’t live with.