Here are six pro-gun moments for Trump in 2017:
Repeal of Social Security Gun Ban—On February 28, 2017—Trump signed a repeal of Barack Obama’s Social Security gun ban. The ban had been in the works during the latter months of the Obama administration, with the final version of the ban officially put in place just days before Christmas 2016. The ban allowed bureaucrats in the Social Security Administration to flag beneficiaries who were on disability and required help with their finances. Such beneficiaries were to be turned over the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and denied the ability to purchase firearms for self-defense.
Nomination (and Confirmation) of Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary—Trump’s nomination of Zinke proved a boon to the Second Amendment and hunting traditions on the first day Zinke took office. On that day, March 2, 2017, Zinke repealed an Obama-era lead ban that had been issued in the waning days of the Obama administration. The ban was put forth via Director’s Order 219, issued by National Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. It required regional directors to work with state-level agencies to begin phasing out the use of lead ammunition on federal land. This included banning lead ammunition in “National Parks, tribal lands and national wildlife refuges in order to mirror policies in states where traditional ammunition is already restricted.” The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Lawrence Keane described the ban as Obama’s “parting shot” against the hunting community. Zinke repealed it on day one.
Nomination (and Confirmation) of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States—Throughout the campaign Trump promised to nominate a SCOTUS justice “in the mold of Justice Scalia.” During the October 9, 2016, presidential debate he said his SCOTUS nominee would “respect the constitution of the United States,” including “the Second Amendment which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton.” He fulfilled this promise by nominating Gorsuch, who stood firm for the ruling in District of Columbia v Heller (2008) during confirmation hearings. Gorsuch was confirmed to SCOTUS on April 7, 2017.
Trump Speaks at NRA’s 2017 Annual Meetings—When Trump spoke to the NRA’s Annual Meetings in Atlanta on April 28, 2017, it signified a couple of milestones. Number one, Trump was the first sitting president to speak to the NRA since Ronald Reagan. Number two, it gave him the opportunity to assure NRA members that the candidate who talked pro-gun on the campaign trail was going to be a president who was pro-gun in the White House. NBC News quoted Trump speaking at the Annual Meetings, saying, “The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” He said NRA members now “have a true friend and champion in the White House” and pledged, “I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
Trump Dismisses Calls for Gun Control Post-Texas Church Shooting—Following the heinous November 5, 2017, attack on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, President Trump dismissed calls for more gun control. Trump indicated there is no guarantee more gun control would have prevented the attack, yet it would tend to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to be armed for self-defense. He said, “[With more gun control] you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck, go out and shoot [the attacker], and hit him, neutralize him.” (Trump was referencing Stephen Willeford, a church neighbor who grabbed his AR-15 and ran toward the sound of gunshots when alerted that congregants were under attack. Willeford was able to shoot the attacker twice, ending the assault.)
Trump Opened Door for Citizens to Acquire More Surplus Pistols from U.S. Military—On December 12, 2017, Trump signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act which included an amendment allowing citizens to acquire another batch of surplus 1911 pistols from the military. The International Business Times estimates approximately 100,000 1911s could soon be available for purchase via the Citizens Marksmanship Program.
It must be noted that Trump’s list of pro-gun accomplishments would have been much longer if the Republican-led House and Senate had acted quicker on pro-gun measures like national reciprocity, the Hearing Protection Act, and a repeal of the gun ban for military veterans. As it now stands, the House passed national reciprocity but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has shown no interest in getting it through the Senate. The Hearing Protection Act was just days away from a vote in October, when House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) shelved it indefinitely. And the repeal of the gun ban for military veterans passed the House on March 16, 2017, but was never taken up by the Senate.