On Friday, President Donal Trump delivered the keynote address at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention held this year in Atlanta, Georgia. Trump spoke at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, marking the first occasion a sitting president has done so since Ronald Reagan addressed the NRA in 1983.
Trump delivered a stump-style speech, reaffirming his unwavering support of the Second Amendment, telling NRA members he would not back away from defending the right to bear arms.
This post from ajc.com includes the entire text of Trump’s speech, if you want to read it in total. The video of his speech is also above.
Trump began his speech by lauding Karen Handel, who is running in a special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat, saying “she’s totally for the NRA and she’s totally for the Second Amendment. So get out and vote. She’s running against someone who’s going to raise your taxes to the sky, destroy your healthcare, and he’s for open borders—lots of crime, and he’s not even able to vote in the district he’s running in.”
Trump reminisced about his appearance at the NRA meeting last year during his tumultuous and successful campaign for the White House followed by a brief blow-by-blow of election day and his vote tallies.
“But you came through for me, and I am going to come through for you.I was proud to receive the NRA’s earliest endorsement in the history of the organization. And today, I am also proud to be the first sitting President to address the NRA Leadership Forum since our wonderful Ronald Reagan in 1983. And I want to thank each and every one of you not only for your help electing true friends of the Second Amendment, but for everything you do to defend our flag and our freedom.
“…The NRA protects in our capitols and legislative houses the freedoms that our servicemembers have won for us on those incredible battlefields. And it’s been a tough fight against those who would go so far as to ban private gun ownership entirely. But I am here to deliver you good news. And I can tell you that Wayne and Chris have been fighting with me long and hard to make sure that we were with you today, not somebody else with an empty podium. Because believe me, the podium would have been empty. They fought long and hard, and I think you folks cannot thank them enough. They were with us all the way, right from the beginning.
“But we have news that you’ve been waiting for for a long time: The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. You have a true friend and champion in the White House. No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners. No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans. Instead, we will work with you, by your side. We will work with the NRA to promote responsible gun ownership, to protect our wonderful hunters and their access to the very beautiful outdoors. You met my son -- I can tell you, both sons, they love the outdoors. Frankly, I think they love the outdoors more than they love, by a long shot, Fifth Avenue. But that’s okay. And we want to ensure you of the sacred right of self-defense for all of our citizens
“When I spoke to this forum last year, our nation was still mourning the loss of a giant, a great defender of the Constitution: Justice Antonin Scalia. I promised that if elected, I would nominate a justice who would be faithful and loyal to the Constitution. I even went one step further and publicly presented a list of 20 judges from which I would make my selection, and that’s exactly what we did.
“…I kept my promise, and now, with your help, our brand-new Justice -- and he is really something very special -- Neil Gorsuch, sits on the bench of the United States Supreme Court. For the first time in the modern political era, we have confirmed a new justice in the first 100 days.
“We’ve also taken action to stand up for America’s sportsmen. On their very last full day in office, the previous administration issued an 11th-hour rule to restrict the use of lead ammunition on certain federal lands. Have you heard about that, folks? I’m shocked to hear that. You’ve all heard about that. You’ve heard about that. On his first day as Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke eliminated the previous administration’s ammunition ban. He’s going to be great. Ryan is going to be great.
“We’ve also moved very quickly to restore something gun owners care about very, very much. It’s called the rule of law. We have made clear that our administration will always stand with the incredible men and women of law enforcement. In fact, countless members of law enforcement are also members of the NRA, because our police know that responsible gun ownership saves lives, and that the right of self-defense is essential to public safety. Do we all agree with that?
“Our police and sheriffs also know that when you ban guns, only the criminals will be armed. For too long, Washington has gone after law-abiding gun owners while making life easier for criminals, drug dealers, traffickers and gang members. MS-13 -- you know about MS-13? It’s not pleasant for them anymore, folks. It’s not pleasant for them anymore. That’s a bad group. Not pleasant for MS-13. Get them the hell out of here, right? Get them out.
“We are protecting the freedoms of law-abiding Americans, and we are going after the criminal gangs and cartels that prey on our innocent citizens. And we are really going after them.”
In 2015, 22 MS-13 gang members in Atlanta were prosecuted after an eight-year federal investigation. The gang members, convicted of racketeering crimes and murders, that went back to 2006 and sentences ranging from multiple life sentences to seven years in prison, are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Today, CBS News posted a story saying http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ms-13-gang-violence-mounting-alarm-as-feds-respond/ MS-13 members have been blamed for a trail of 11 corpses of mostly young people discovered in woods and vacant lots in Brentwood and Central Islip in Long Island, New York.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appointed by Trump, vowed on Friday to eradicate the MS-13 gang in a 20-minute speech to local police commissioners and sheriffs, according to the New York Times.
“We all took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States -- and that means defending the Second Amendment,” Trump continued.
“So let me make a simple promise to every one of the freedom-loving Americans in the audience today: As your President, I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Never ever. Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God.”
“…But we can’t be complacent. These are dangerous times. These are horrible times for certain obvious reasons. But we’re going to make them great times again. Every day, we are up against those who would take away our freedoms, restrict our liberties, and even those who want to abolish the Second Amendment. We must be vigilant. And I know you are all up to the task.
“Since the first generation of Americans stood strong at Concord, each generation to follow has answered the call to defend freedom in their time. That is why we are here today: To defend freedom for our children. To defend the liberty of all Americans. And to defend the right of a free and sovereign people to keep and bear arms.”