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Trump tells NRA, elect Republicans to protect gun rights

Trump's strong support for gun rights comes at a time when the discussion and activism on the issue of gun violence in the United States are at its peak
UPDATED FEB 13, 2020
President Donald Trump (Source: Getty Images)
President Donald Trump (Source: Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, just months after the Parkland school massacre in Florida, addressed the members of the pro-gun lobbying group, the National Rifle Association (NRA), on Friday and told the group and its members to elect more Republicans to Congress in an effort to protect gun rights in the country.

Trump took a dig at the Democratic Party during the NRA convention in Texas and claimed that the Democrats want to "outlaw guns" and added that if that drastic step comes into effect then the nation might as well ban all vans and trucks as they are the new weapons for "maniac terrorists," the Associated Press reported. 

President Trump's strong support for gun rights comes at a time when the discussion and activism on the issue of gun violence in the United States are at its peak. The problem came to the forefront after a mass shooting at a school in Parkland Florida. 

A 19-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire on the campus with his legally-bought AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people. Most of the victims of the shooting were students and teachers. Shortly after the carnage, the survivors of the massacre triggered a nationwide activism against gun violence in the country.

President Donald Trump is introduced at the NRA-ILA's Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017 in Atlanta. (Getty Images)

Trump, at the time, had denounced the incident and had temporarily appeared to stray away from the gun rights dogma. The Republican, during a televised gun meeting in February, had declared that he would stand up to the NRA and would get results in curbing gun violence in the country. However, he backtracked on his tough talk later and suggested measures — backed by the NRA — to avoid such mass shootings

One of his suggestions included arming certain teachers in the school premises with guns and giving them training. The proposal, however, received condemnation as the Parkland survivors argued that bringing more guns into the discourse is not the solution to the problem.

Trump's appearance at the NRA convention was criticized by Parkland survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg. 

"It’s kind of hypocritical of him to go there after saying so many politicians bow to the NRA and are owned by them. It proves that his heart and his wallet are in the same place," Hogg said. 

The Republican, during the convention, sought to rally pro-gun voters for the 2018 congressional elections and said: "We will never give up our freedom. We will live free and we will die free. We’ve got to do great in ‘18."

Trump, during the address, made a brief reference to the Parkland shooting and said that he "mourned for the victims and their families." He also noted that he has signed a spending bill which includes provisions to strengthen the federal background check system for gun purchases.