President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for the National Rifle Association on Friday declaring the organization is engaged in the fight to maintain the God-given right to self-defense, enshrined in the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
“The people in this hall have never taken our freedom for granted, and you have never stopped fighting for our beloved Constitution,” Trump told the attendees at the NRA’s national convention in Dallas, Texas.
The president commended the NRA members for giving their time, voice and vote “to stand strong for those sacred rights given to us by God, including the right to self-defense.”
“All of us here today are united by the same timeless values,” he said. “We believe that our liberty is a gift from our Creator and that no government can ever take it away.”
Trump pledged his administration would continue to protect their Second Amendment rights, which he said are currently “under siege.”
The chief executive’s comments were an apparent nod to new gun control measures passed and under consideration in several state legislatures around the country after the Parkland high school shooting in February.
Trump pronounced, from his position at the federal level, Second Amendment rights “will never be under siege as long as I am your president.”
In the aftermath of the shooting, Trump indicated he would be open to supporting enhanced background checks to purchase guns, including taking into account the issue of mental illness, which he has stated multiple times is the true cause of mass shootings.
The president told lawmakers following Parkland sometimes it is necessary to oppose the NRA’s position.
“We have to fight them every once in a while,” he said, according to Reuters.
Trump spoke of the Parkland shooting on Friday lamenting the many red flags regarding the gunman.
“There has never been a case where more red flags have been shown,” the president said, as he promised his administration was “working to improve early warning systems.”
Trump signed the STOP School Violence Act into law in March, which is aimed at strengthening school security. The NRA supported the legislation.
His administration also submitted a new regulation banning bump stocks, which effectively turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic.
Last fall, following the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the NRA issued a statement calling for regulations on such devices.
Trump’s observation that the right to self-defense is God-given is rooted in the language of the Declaration of Independence.
The document reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
David French, writing for the National Review, noted the Bible and natural law affirm the right to defend one’s life and the lives of others.
In the piece, he argued those promoting gun control measures have a heavy burden in showing their legislation does not infringe on these rights.
He wrote, “Essentially that gun control represents not merely a limitation on a constitutional right but a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society.”
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