What I Heard When Trump Addressed the NRA in Harrisburg

National Rifle Association

Thousands of patriots assembled at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo center on Friday the 9th of February, 2024. There was static in the air and the energy was beyond high.


People started lining up as early as 1 p.m. in order to be able to hear President Donald J. Trump speak at 6 p.m. that evening. The NRA Presidential Forum marked the eighth time Trump has addressed National Rifle Association members and there are plans for the NRA to host him again at the upcoming NRA annual meeting in Dallas.

Before Trump took to the stage and lectern to address fellow members, there were a number of other speakers. Notably, the NRA’s new interim Executive Vice President, Andrew Arulanandam, addressed the crowd.

“Over the past seven days, the halls of the farm show complex had been filled with outdoorsmen, from all walks of life, and from all over the country, indeed, all over the world. Just regular folks like us, who cherish our Outdoor Heritage and support the principles in this great country was founded upon.

And today, you and I know that those values are under attack in Washington, in state houses across America, in courts, and of course in the media. So for me, it is a privilege and an honor to work with the men and women of the National Rifle Association, who every day valiantly step up to the plate to safeguard this great American freedom. Thank you to all of you.”

During Arulanandam’s speech, he spoke a little about how the former iteration of the show, the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show’s “event organizers [ ] bowed down to political pressure and abandoned it.” Since the NRA negotiated the adoption of the show and recast it as the Great American Outdoor Show, Arulanandam said that they’ve pumped over 700 million dollars into the local Harrisburg economy.


Arulanandam went on to discuss many of the ways Trump safe-guarded the Second Amendment while in office. One of the most meaningful things, in my opinion, he recalled, “President Trump withdrew the United States from the UN Global gun control [treaty].”

After Arulanandam’s speech, NRA Spokesman Billy McLaughlin took to the stage. While getting situated at the lectern, someone yelled out from the crowd, “Don’t give up your guns!” McLaughlin masterfully replied and in an impromptu manner said, “I’ll say we’re never gonna give up our guns,” which was greeted with an eruption of cheers and applause. McLaughlin continued opening with:

“I want to welcome all of you to the NRA Great American Outdoor Show. This is real America. If you look to your left and look to your right, look behind you and in front of you, you will see NRA members. You will see patriots. You will see constitutionalists and you will see everything that makes America great.”

McLaughlin then directed the crowd’s attention to the middle of the room. “If you can take a moment and look at the middle of the arena, that’s the mainstream media.” The attendees booed and hissed for about 24 seconds, which is a decent amount of time, especially if you’re sitting in the media pen like I was along with other 2A-friendly members of the media such as Charlie Cook from Riding Shotgun With Charlie, Stephen Gutowski from the Reload, and Victoria Snitsar Churchill from American Liberty News.


“So politicians and their promoters in the anti-gun media hate everything we stand for. They hate how we choose to defend ourselves, our families and our loved ones. And they hate everything that makes America great. But most importantly, they hate those 27 words that we fight for every day…the Second Amendment.”

McLaughlin declared right before closing, “We will never let Joe Biden take our guns!” The crowd chanted “Let’s go Brandon” for several moments.

NRA President Charles Cotton addressed the attendees, specifically highlighting the NRA’s victory with the NYSRPA v. Bruen case. “Make no mistake about it, we have that decision and the freedom that comes with it solely because Donald Trump was our president,” Cotton said. “And because he nominated three Supreme Court justices that actually believe the Constitution means what it says.”

By the time President Trump made his way onto the stage, the patriots were sufficiently primed for him. Trump spoke for nearly an hour and twenty minutes. In typical Trumpian fashion, he zig-zagged and serpentined through a multitude of topics, but made it clear that if elected again, he plans on protecting the Second Amendment.

“I’m thrilled to be back with the hard-working, God-fearing true American patriots of the NRA. For four incredible years, it was my honor to be the best friend gun owners have ever had in the White House, by far,” Trump said. “Now I stand before you with a very simple promise, your Second Amendment will always be safe with me as your president.”


Some promises Trump made during his speech included:

● He would appoint “rock solid conservative originalists to the federal bench, including the United States Supreme Court.”

● Plan on “stop[ping] the effort to deny banking and financial services to gun makers and dealers.”

● He would, “on day one we will sack the radical gun grabber, Steve Dettelbach,” and replace him with an “ATF director who respects the sacred right to keep and bear arms.”

● “I will ask Congress to send a bill to my desk, delivering national right to carry reciprocity.”

● Reversing policies put in place by the Biden-Harris Administration, declaring “under a Trump administration, all of those Biden disasters get ripped up and torn out. My first week, but maybe my first day in office.”

● “We will completely overhaul the corrupt Department of Justice to clear out all the Communists who have weaponized government activities, gone against conservatives and gun owners, and we will replace them with relentless crime fighters on a mission to put dangerous criminals behind bars.”

● “Instead of trying to eviscerate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, I will have federal law enforcement prosecute the countless gun crimes committed by gang members, drug dealers, and convicted felons.”

● “We will fire ultra-left Interior Secretary Deb Holland and appoint a secretary who truly loves our hunters, fishermen, sportsmen, and outdoorsmen.”

● “I will direct a completely overhauled DOJ to investigate every radical, out of control, prosecutor in America for their illegal, racist, and reverse-enforcement of the law. Then we will smash the gangs, the street crews, and the criminal networks that are tearing up our country.”


Before closing, President Trump rattled off a catalog of what his administration would do if elected and energized the crowd:

We will soon be a great nation again. It was hard-working patriots like you who built this country. Like you who are going to save our country. We will fight for America like no one has ever fought before. 2024 is our final battle. With you at my side, we will demolish the deep state, we will expel the warmongers from our government. We will drive out the globalists, we will cast out the communists, Marxists, and fascists. We will throw out the sick political class that hates our country. We will protect our Second Amendment. We will evict crooked Joe Biden from the White House on November 5 2024. That’s when it began. The great silent majority is rising like never before. And under our leadership, the forgotten man and woman will be forgotten no longer.

We are one movement, one people, one family and one glorious nation under God. And together we will make America powerful again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America strong again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great again. Thank you everybody.

The gross majority of attendees stayed for the entire speech that President Trump delivered. Some people started to leave around the one-hour mark, however, most of the large arena was full for the entirety of the NRA Presidential Forum.


I reached out to our friends over the NRA to comment on how they felt the event went. “The NRA Presidential Forum was a tremendous success, featuring NRA Life Member President Donald J. Trump’s eighth address to his fellow members,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Randy Kozuch, who added:

“The venue was filled with an enthusiastic audience, focused on the president’s words. His commitment to end the Biden administration's attacks against gun owners and manufacturers in his first week back in office, possibly on the first day, was met with approval. For more than three years, NRA members have been targeted by policies from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. We are eager to host President Trump for his ninth NRA address in Dallas, Texas, this May, an event our members will not want to miss.”

At a minimum, the NRA Presidential Forum was a great pep rally for a base that’s been largely ignored and abused since Biden and Harris took office. It’s nearly a foregone conclusion that Trump is the favored pick for President by the NRA. Trump himself noted in a tongue in cheek manner, “I don’t know what they’re doing in May, but I understand they’re having a very big event in May [the NRA annual meeting]. They better endorse me.”

There’s no doubt that civil liberty-loving Americans will be in a far better place with Trump in office come 2025, rather than Biden. Of the commitments that Trump has made, will he follow through? That’s a very distinct probable, given his track record. Equally important to ask would be if a second Trump administration would make up for the blight of the bump stock ban that was put into effect, which helped to enable the ATF to become a rogue weapon against the law-abiding.


Considering the lessons learned over these last years and the strong words Trump used on Friday, I’m confident Trump will steer clear of any such disastrous concessions. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see January 20th, 2025.

Take some time to check out the entire speech by President Trump and the event’s full proceedings in the embed below:

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