AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
President Donald Trump doesn’t have the highest approval numbers by any stretch of the imagination. Then again, it’s been a while since we had a president with particularly good approval ratings, so that’s not precisely groundbreaking at this point.
However, one group still backs the president, and that’s gun owners. While many are upset by the administration’s move to ban bump stocks, gun owners generally back Trump.
The media finds this shocking, especially as Trump is, as they put it, “bad for business.”
In Greenfield, Indiana, Mark Highsmith said he believes firearms are woven into the fabric of the state. He owns a gun shop and told ABC News the NRA remains strong in parts of the country because it’s the only organization on the front lines of gun advocacy.
“They’re really the only lobbying group for the shooting public,” Highsmith told ABC News. But, he added, “I think they need to try and rationalize how they spend their money and try to be more steadfast in the way they do business. I’d like to see them be more supportive of places like me — how are they helping the average member.”
Highsmith is in a unique position as a gun shop owner. While he personally supports Donald Trump, it hurts his business.
“When Trump got in, our business slowed quite a bit — anytime you got a Democrat House and Senate, I really think it makes people alarmed,” he said.
Some gun enthusiasts have labeled that decline in firearm sales the “Trump Slump.” The president’s 2016 campaign, heavily backed by the NRA, helped reassure gun owners, so they bought fewer firearms.
The NRA also disagreed with the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks following a mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival in October 2017 that killed 58 people. That shooter used a bump stock, a device that allows a rifle automatic or semiautomatic firing capability.
Still, the president is expected to receive a warm response today.
“I’m happy he’s coming,” Highsmith added, “and I’m happy he’s a Second Amendment supporter.”
Sorry for the long block quote, but I wanted you to see what ABC News is putting out there.
Yes, President Trump is far from a Second Amendment absolutist. Yes, he’s squishy on guns in a way I’m less than comfortable with. So why do so many NRA members support the President?
That’s easy. He’s better than Hillary Clinton.
Had Clinton been elected and things proceeded otherwise, we’d have gotten a lot more banned than bump stocks. For one, it’s unlikely she would have allowed the ATF to reclassify bump stocks.
“But that would have been a good thing,” some of you are saying, but only if you look at that without remembering the landscape immediately after Las Vegas. Congress was set to pass a bump stock ban. The problem with that ban was that it covered far more than bump stocks. It covered things like binary triggers, competition triggers, and arguably could have made it illegal to oil your trigger group. That would have been far-reaching and had a much bigger impact on the firearms community.
That would have happened, even with the GOP-controlled Congress.
At least with President Trump, that didn’t happen.
So why do gun store owners, for example, back President Trump if he’s bad for business? That’s a question that ABC News failed to ask, probably because it knew it wouldn’t like the answer.
It’s like how gun manufacturers prefer the “Trump Slump” as opposed to the boom times under Obama. At least now they’re somewhat secure. They don’t feel like their business will be outlawed if the president gets a chance. They’d rather have slower but safer revenue than a massive influx and a constant threat hovering over their heads.