Trump told a raucous NRA crowd that Joe Biden has devastated the economy, kicked crime into high gear, and diminished the country’s standing.
HARRISBURG, Pa.—Former President Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential race, vowed before hundreds of National Rifle Association (NRA) members to support them in their fight to preserve the Second Amendment.
President Trump was the keynote speaker at the Presidential Forum in the 2024 NRA’s Great American Outdoors Show on Feb. 9.
“Your Second Amendment will always be safe with me as your president,” he told the raucous crowd in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
To the crowd’s cheers, President Trump said he would make the Second Amendment a true American right by demanding that Congress pass a national reciprocity law so that Americans could legally carry a gun regardless of where they happen to be.
“It has to cross state lines,” he said.
Then, President Trump turned his attention to President Joe Biden.
He told the crowd that the Biden administration is committed to gun control. He promised to reinstate policies from his administration that Democrats had done away with.
President Trump reminded the crowd that he removed the United States from international gun control agreements, labeled gun makers and dealers as critical businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and appointed judges who support the Second Amendment.
“If Joe Biden is reelected, your gun rights will be gone, totally gone,” he said. “The only thing standing between you and the obliteration of the Second Amendment is me.”
President Trump called President Biden the most incompetent and corrupt president in American history. He warned that reelecting President Biden would be disastrous.
“If you care about your country, if you care about your children, then we have to fire—remember ‘The Apprentice’—we have to fire crooked Joe Biden,” President Trump said.
He said he would defend the Second Amendment by reforming the agencies that enforce gun laws. He promised to replace the heads of agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Department of Justice.
“We will completely overhaul the Department of Justice,” President Trump said.
According to President Trump, President Biden is responsible for increased crime, higher inflation, depressed wages, and America’s diminished standing in the world.
“Four years ago, I told you what would happen if Joe Biden got into office. I didn’t know how bad it would be. It’s even worse,” President Trump said.
He said President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, which he called the most embarrassing moment in American history, led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the growing boldness of Iran, and the Oct. 7, 2023, terrorist invasion of Israel by Hamas. He said none of these things happened during his term.
“The attack on Israel would have never happened,” President Trump said.
He promised to reinstate strict enforcement of immigration laws and begin a major deportation effort.
“The day that I’m reelected is the day that law and order and justice will return to the United States,” President Trump said.
NRA spokesman Billy McLaughlin revved the crowd up by listing who he considered to be the enemies of the Second Amendment.
“We have CNN in here, we have MSNBC, we have The New York Times,” he said.
As the crowd began to jeer, Mr. McLaughlin responded, “Exactly.”
He said that the media, working with “gun-hating politicians,” is dedicated to ending the Second Amendment. He lauded the crowd for standing up for their constitutional right to bear arms.
“Gun-hating politicians and their promoters in the gun-hating media hate everything we stand for. Most importantly, they hate those 27 words we fight for every day, the Second Amendment,” Mr. McLaughlin said, drawing cheers. “We will never let Joe Biden take our guns.”
‘We’ve Got to Close the Border’
Attendees had more than the Second Amendment on their minds. Mark Ciechanowicz of Long Island, New York, said he wants issues at the southern border addressed.
“We’ve got to close the border. I think everybody now sees what’s really going on is illegal immigration is running rampant, and they’re tired of it,” Mr. Ciechanowicz told The Epoch Times.
Brian Sherr of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, agreed. He wants to see President Trump sent back to Washington to handle immigration and to tame the economy. According to Mr. Sherr, the price of diesel fuel is driving up the cost of everything else.
“We need to reduce the price of groceries; that will make everything easier on everyone in the country,” he told The Epoch Times.
NRA President Charles Cotton said he has faith in President Trump’s promises. While he doesn’t know President Trump personally, he said he knows his record and people who have worked with him for years. He said they all tell him the same thing about the former president.
“If Donald Trump gives you his word, he will never go back on it,” Mr. Cotton said.
The Trump supporters who spoke to The Epoch Times acknowledged that President Trump is facing some severe challenges even as he maintains a more than 40 percent lead in the GOP race. But Mr. Sherr said the lawsuits, investigations, and other issues only solidified in his mind that the former president was onto something.
“The simple fact is that if they had anything on him, they would have been done years ago,” Mr. Sherr said. “I don’t think there’s anything else they can try do to keep him out of office.
Janice Hisle, Catherine Yang, and Sam Dornan contributed to this report.