In the wake of the polarizing 2016 presidential election, President-Elect Donald Trump’s stances on issues such as healthcare and immigration have become more fluid, leaving much uncertainty as to how many controversial topics will be dealt with once Trump assumes office. This includes arguably one of the most contentious issues that our nation has faced: Second Amendment rights.
A topic of debate long before the 2016 election, the Second Amendment and how far it extends has created a lot of controversy, especially with school shootings and other acts of domestic terrorism on the rise. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states “..the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And while many citizens defend this right as a means of self-protection, others claim lax regulations on who can acquire guns are the reason for many deaths annually.
According to a report released in October 2014, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that the rate of all mass shootings in America had essentially tripled in the previous three years. Mass shootings aside, Forbes magazine reports about 34,000 people in the United States died gun-related deaths in 2013.
While many policymakers have endeavored to combat these statistics with tighter gun regulations, they receive protests from both the general public and lobbies such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) that cite infringement upon Second Amendment Rights.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton favors increased gun regulation, making her stance clear by saying “I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets.” On the other hand, the NRA endorsed President-elect Trump who initially adopted a pro-gun stance, opposing regulations such as an assault weapon ban and gun-free zones in schools. However, during the presidential debates Trump sparked controversy by agreeing with Clinton on the “No Fly, No Buy” regulation that would prohibit people on terror watchlists from purchasing guns, despite the NRA’s opposition to such a ban.
With President-elect Trump assuming office in January, the future of the Second Amendment may not be as big of a loss to the pro-gun control community as initially thought. While the NRA’s endorsement of Trump may keep tighter regulations on hold for the duration of his presidency, his support of the “No Fly, No Buy” ban and solidarity with the Orlando shooting victims indicate radical, pro-gun laws may also not be as imminent. However, Trump has refrained from commenting on guns since winning the election, leaving their future as yet to be seen.