The Latest: Trump says gun group is stronger, not weaker


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s withdrawing the U.S. from an arms trade treaty because it’s “badly misguided.” He made the announcement in a speech to the National Rifle Association. The move comes as pro-gun legislation is largely stalled in Congress and Trump is imploring the NRA to rally behind his re-election bid.

President Barack Obama signed the pact, which has long been opposed by the NRA, in 2013. But it has never been ratified by U.S. lawmakers.


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4:20 p.m.

The United Nations says the Arms Trade Treaty that the U.S. is exiting is “a landmark achievement in the efforts to ensure responsibility in international arms transfers.”

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric was responding to Friday’s announcement by President Donald Trump that he is asking the Senate to halt ratification of the treaty.

It is the first legally binding treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms and was overwhelmingly approved by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in April 2013. It has been ratified by 101 countries.

Dujarric says the treaty “is the only global instrument aimed at improving transparency and accountability in the international arms trade.”

He says, “This is particularly important in present times, when we witness growing international tensions and renewed interest in expanding and modernizing arsenals.”


1:45 p.m.

A man was removed from the audience at President Donald Trump’s speech to the National Rifle Association after tossing his cellphone toward the stage.

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The phone flew toward one side of the lectern as Trump was approaching from the other side. The president proceeded with his speech without delay.

Witnesses said the man appeared to be a supporter of the president.


1 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. has decided to withdraw its support for a treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade. It’s the latest example of the Trump administration’s dislike of international pacts.

Trump said Friday that he has decided to revoke the United States’ status as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty regulating international trade in conventional weapons, including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

He says America is “rejecting this treaty” and “taking our signature back.”

He made the announcement during a speech in Indianapolis, Indiana, to the National Rifle Association, which claims the treaty poses a threat to the Second Amendment. The U.S. signed the treaty in 2013, but never ratified it.


12:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says gun owners should get ready to vote for Republicans.

He told the National Rifle Association Friday that his political opponents “want to take away your guns. You better get out there and vote.”

He spoke at the gun rights group’s annual convention for the third year in a row.

The event comes as longtime observers say the group is at its weakest moment in memory, due to serious infighting, financial issues and shifting public sentiment after a series of mass shootings.

Trump said the 2020 presidential and congressional elections are around the corner.

“It seems like it’s a long ways away. It’s not,” he said.


12:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is launching his speech to the National Rifle Association with a recitation of grievances about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Speaking to the gun rights group’s annual convention Friday, Trump said his political enemies “tried for a coup, didn’t work out so well. And I didn’t need a gun for that one, did I?’

The friendly audience applauded the quip, but Trump wasn’t done. He said he’s seen “corruption at the highest levels. A disgrace. Spying. Surveillance trying for an overthrow.”

Mueller’s probe found no evidence that Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. But his report contained detail about Trump’s efforts to shut down the investigation, fire Mueller and lie. Some Democrats say there’s ample evidence of obstruction of justice.

Attorney General William Barr said he did not believe the evidence was sufficient to prove that Trump had obstructed justice, but he noted that Mueller’s team did not exonerate the president.


11:50 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says that under the Trump administration, “no one is taking your guns.”

The line got a rousing applause from the National Rifle Association in Indianapolis, where Pence was introducing President Donald Trump at the gun lobby’s annual convention.

Pence, a former Indiana governor, told the crowd, “Under this president and this vice president no one is taking your guns.”

Trump is speaking to the convention for the third year in a row.

The NRA’s convention comes as longtime observers say the group is at its weakest moment in memory, due to serious infighting, financial issues and shifting public sentiment after a series of mass shootings.


11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump has landed in Indianapolis, where he’ll be headlining the National Rifle Association’s annual convention for the third year in a row.

Trump is addressing members of the gun rights group the same day he is expected to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh AH’-bay) to the White House in Washington.

The NRA’s convention comes as longtime observers say the group is at its weakest moment in memory, due to serious infighting, financial issues and shifting public sentiment after a series of mass shootings.

Greeting the 45th president at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday were people in red “Make American Great Again” hats and a round of country music. The clocks in the stadium were set to 45:00.


9 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the National Rifle Association is getting stronger, not weaker, and is doing important work vital to making his “Make America Great Again” slogan a reality.

Trump is heading to Indianapolis on Friday to address the nation’s largest gun rights organization, which played a pivotal role in his victory in 2016.

The NRA spent millions of dollars to help elect Trump in 2016 but had a much lower profile during the 2018 midterms. It’s unclear how visible the NRA will be in 2020 after a series of mass shootings that has hardened public sentiment against gun violence.

Trump disagrees with those who say the NRA is getting weaker. He tweets that the NRA is “getting stronger & stronger and doing some really great and important work.”


12:35 a.m.

The nation’s largest gun rights organization played a pivotal role in President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016.

Three years later, the National Rifle Association is limping toward the next election divided and diminished. Many observers say the organization is at its weakest moment in recent history, beset by infighting, losing public support and bleeding money.

It’s a reversal that has stunned longtime observers and that is raising questions about the group’s potential firepower heading into 2020 as Trump and Vice President Mike Pence prepared to headline the group’s annual convention in Indianapolis.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

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