With the U.S. presidential elections just a few weeks away, Republican front-runner Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, are busy tapping into every possible vote bank. With the gun laws being intensely debated, and the NRA openly supporting one, what are the chances of the other one even getting a small portion of voters who carry guns and support ownership of arms under the Second Amendment?
Donald J. Trump has never minced words when it comes to gun ownership. Not only does he support the zealotry that gun owners often display, he plans to continue the proud tradition of presidential gun ownership. Meanwhile, Hillary Rodham Clinton hasn’t openly or strongly denounced firearm ownership, and perhaps she doesn’t plan to.
The Democratic candidate has hinted at a brief relationship with a handheld firearm. Ms. Clinton has attempted to relate to American gun owners in the past, but she doesn’t have much to offer in terms of experience or fondness of weapons. The only memory that Ms. Clinton taps into in an effort to show she can handle a firearm is the one time she went duck hunting in Arkansas a few decades ago. Unfortunately, all Ms. Clinton remembers about the experience is the bitter cold weather and the fact that she never truly savored the act of shooting at an animal with the intention of killing it for sport.
“I was with a bunch of my friends, all men. They wanted to embarrass me. The pressure was on. So I shot, and I shot a banded duck, and they were surprised as I was. Once was enough.”
Incidentally, Ms. Clinton had reminisced about firing a weapon way back in 2008 as a rather vain and feeble attempt to exploit Barack Obama’s comment about Pennsylvania’s “bitter” voters who “cling” to guns and religion. Right after Ms. Clinton’s comments, Obama accused her of indulging in petty politics and mocked her for trying to portray frontier woman Annie Oakley. Interestingly, Ms. Clinton once again attempted to get in the good books of gun owners last year.
During her primary campaign against Sen. Bernard Sanders, she was quoted as saying, “I’m not against guns. My dad taught me to shoot when I was a little girl. I have shot at targets, tin cans and skeet.”
Donald Trump, who is quite likely to decimate all the stringent regulations enacted by Barack Obama administration pertaining to gun ownership, doesn’t praise gun owners every chance he gets. The Republican nominee has a concealed carry permit in New York and owns at least two handguns.
In 2012, Trump had revealed he owns a .45-caliber Hechler & Koch and a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson, but instantly attempted to downplay the fact by saying, “I own a couple of different guns, but I don’t talk about it.”
As a matter of fact, Trump, as well as Ms. Clinton, does not want to take away guns from Americans who love possessing them. Ms. Clinton openly said she is “not here to take away your guns.” Moreover, the Democratic nominee assuaged the fears of pro-gun advocates by confirming she does not intend to repeal the Second Amendment if voted to power. Her primary concerns are about the “Charleston loophole,” deadly assault weapons, and expanded background checks. Essentially, Ms. Clinton supports the “No Fly, No Buy” policy, which prevents those on the national “No Fly” list from owning any firearms. However, she did praise the Australian model for gun reforms.
While Trump has shown support to the “No Fly, No Buy” policy, he does plan to annul President Obama’s executive orders establishing gun regulations. His policies about gun ownership may appear to be all over the place, but they do seem to gravitate towards those shared by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
About 36 percent of American households possesses one or more guns. This makes their vote crucial to tip the scales. With both the candidates giving mixed signals, who will the gun owners step out to vote?
[Featured Image by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images and Kevin Winter/Getty Images]