Donald Trump achievements: Gun rights

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements

This article is a non-exhaustive list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to advancing gun rights and protecting the Second Amendment.


By the end of 2017, President Trump had built up a record as a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights.[1]

Legislation signed, 2017

  • February 28, 2017—President Trump signed a bill into law (Public Law 115–8)[2] repealing a Social Security Administration rule adding mental disability determinations to the background check registry, subject to a person applying to be removed from the list.[3][4][5] Congress had passed a law requiring federal agencies to search their records for people who were "mentally defective", and the Social Security Administration had published their method of gathering names on December 16, 2016. The regulation would have added the names of disability beneficiaries who have a mental illness or are not competent to manage their own finances, potentially leading to the removal of Second Amendment rights to many perfectly competent, mentally healthy citizens.[4][6] By signing the resolution of disapproval, as with other CRA acts, the Social Security Administration cannot come up with different criteria for supplying names to the background check registry for 10 years.

Executive actions, 2017

  • Starting early in his presidency, the Trump Administration undid Obama-era executive branch gun regulations.[7]
  • August 16, 2017—The Justice Department terminated Operation Choke Point, a program started during the Obama Administration that existed to encourage banks not to do business with "high risk" businesses and that was criticized by conservatives as unfairly targeting gun dealers and other businesses not looked favorably upon by liberals.[8]

Other achievements, 2017

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • As a sign of confidence in the Trump Administration by Second Amendment supporters, several media outlets reported in 2017 that gun sales fell deeply compared to 2016 after trump assumed office.[9] Others, however, noted that background checks for gun purchases increased to record levels in 2017.[10] The number of Americans with concealed carry permits continued to increase.[11] Ultimately, while the number of gun sales in 2017 was significantly lower than in 2016, it still became the second-best year on record for gun sales in the U.S.[12]
  • April 28, 2017—President Trump became the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1983 to speak at the National Rifle Association's annual convention.[13]
  • Unlike left-wing politicians, President Trump did not call for gun control immediately after major shootings such as one at a Texas church in November 2017, noting that stronger gun laws would not stop such shootings,[14] noting that the gunman had mental health problems and that it was not "a guns situation,"[15] and he noted that the shooter was stopped by another person with a gun.[16]


Executive actions, 2018

  • May 14, 2018—The Trump Administration began the process of loosening regulations for certain small-arms exports and changing the agency giving approval from the State to Commerce Department.[17] It officially published the proposed rule changes on May 24, 2018.[18] In July 2018, President Trump approved the State Department's proposed implementation plan for the new policy.[19] In February 2019, the Trump Administration finalized the new rules.[20]
  • July 2018—It was reported that the DOJ had made a settlement with a 3D gun printer a few months prior, ending a lawsuit between the printer and the State Department over making blueprints for 3D-printed guns public.[21] In the settlement, the DOJ admitted that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber, including semi-automatic rifles, are not inherently military.[21] By allowing the release of 3D-printed gun blueprints, the settlement undermined gun-buying regulations.[21]
  • December 18, 2018—President Trump's commission on school safety released its final report, which among other positive recommendations, called for more armed guards in schools, ending an Obama Administration race-based school discipline policy, and argued against raising the minimum age to buy a gun, rather than calling for more gun control.[22]

Other achievements, 2018

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • Gun sales remained strong at the beginning of 2018.[23] After a major gun shooting in Florida, which began another left-wing push for gun control, the number of background checks for gun sales,[24] as well as concealed carry permits, sharply rose.[25] The number of background checks in April 2018 set a new record.[26] In addition, gun manufacturers' stocks performed well.[27] While gun sales fell in May 2018, they still continued setting record highs,[28] and background checks in June[29] and July[30] reached the second highest levels ever for those individual months. Background checks also increased in August 2018.[31] On the other hand, some gun manufacturers reported lower sales because of the Trump Administration's relatively pro-Second Amendment stance,[32] and statistics in October 2018 showed a drop in gun sales, at least partially because of the administration's pro-gun stance.[33] The National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that in 2018, gun sales fell 6.1% overall.[34]
  • May 4, 2018—Both President Trump[35] and Vice President Mike Pence[36] spoke at the National Rifle Association's annual convention, where they expressed strong support for Second Amendment rights, among other topics.[35][36]
  • President Trump made other statements in 2018 expressing support for the Second Amendment,[37] including at CPAC,[38] and he expressed strong opposition to repealing the Second Amendment.[39]

Setbacks, 2018

The following setbacks to the MAGA agenda were often caused by Congress or officials in the Trump Administration, rather than President Trump himself. Some of them can also be considered partial achievements.

  • February 20, 2018—Under heavy pressure from the gun control lobby after a school shooting in Florida,[40] President Trump signed a memorandum directing the DOJ to create new regulations to ban gun modifiers such as "bump stocks."[41] The DOJ proposed its ban on March 10, 2018.[42] On December 18, 2018, the DOJ announced the finalized "bump stock" ban regulation, which would even apply to purchases made before the ban and require the confiscation of bump stocks already owned by Americans.[43] The ban went into effect on March 26, 2019.[44]
  • March 23, 2018—President Trump signed an omnibus spending bill that Congress sent to him, and its provisions included the Fix-NICS Act, which jeopardized the Second Amendment rights of over 4 million Americans.[45] The omnibus bill also included a clause that clarified that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could conduct "gun violence research."[46]
  • Particularly in February 2018, President Trump appeared to support red flag laws to confiscate guns from certain individuals deemed to be dangerous by families or local law enforcement stating: "I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time. Take the guns first, go through due process second.” [47]


By mid-2019, to the consternation of the mainstream media, the Trump Administration had reduced gun restrictions through certain regulatory actions.[48]

Legislation signed, 2019

  • May 10, 2019—President Trump signed a bill into law that gave states increased ability to build or expand public shooting ranges.[49]

Executive actions, 2019

  • February 2019—The Trump Administration finalized the new gun export rules it had started implementing the previous year and which changed the policy to require gun-makers to have a license from the Commerce Department rather than the State Department to export firearms overseas.[20]
  • April 26, 2019—President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw the U.S. signature from the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which former president Obama signed in 2013 and which threatened Second Amendment rights.[50] President Trump signed a letter to the U.S. Senate asking it to stop the process of ratifying the treaty.[50] In announcing the decision, President Trump stated that "under my administration, we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone" and that "we will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom."[50]
  • December 31, 2019—The U.S. Marine Corps announced a new policy allowing the branch's law enforcement personnel to carry their personal firearms on bases even when off-duty.[51]

Commemorations, 2019

  • August 1, 2019—President Trump commemorated National Shooting Sports Month, stating that "the vibrant shooting sport culture is made possible, in large part, by our steadfast protection of one of our bedrock and most-cherished liberties, the right to keep and bear arms."[52]

Other achievements, 2019

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • President Trump continued making statements in support of Second Amendment rights,[53] including at his United Nations General Assembly speech on September 24, 2019.[54]
  • April 26, 2019—President Trump and Vice President Pence[55] spoke again at the NRA's annual convention.[50][56] This was the third time in a row as U.S. president that Trump spoke at the convention.[57]
  • For the first time, the number of background checks in the U.S. in the first six months of the year surpassed 2 million each month.[58]

Setbacks, 2019

The following setbacks to the MAGA agenda were often caused by Congress or officials in the Trump Administration, rather than President Trump himself. Some of them can also be considered partial achievements.

  • After the El Paso Walmart shooting and the Dayton nightclub shooting, both in early August 2019, President Trump made several statements promoting gun control measures such as universal background checks,[59] and he even appeared open to a ban on semi-automatic rifles.[60]
  • December 20, 2019—The federal government spending bill signed by President Trump[61] included a provision giving $25 million for gun violence research to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, something strongly opposed by pro-Second Amendment conservatives.[62]


  1. Hawkins, AWR (December 31, 2017). President Trump’s Top Six Pro-Gun Moments of 2017. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
    See also:
  2. Joint Resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.. White House (February 28, 2017). Retrieved on April 11, 2017.
  3. Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. Federal Register (December 19, 2017).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sherfinski, David (February 15, 2017). Senate votes to repeal Obama’s ban on gun sales for certain Social Security recipients. The Washington Times. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  5. Multiple references:
  6. Hawkins, Awr (April 10, 2017). Politico: Trump Repealed Social Security Gun Ban Behind Closed Doors to Hide Benefits for ‘Severely Mentally Ill’. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  7. Hawkins, Awr (April 14, 2017). President Trump Quietly Rolling Back Obama-Era Gun Controls. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  8. Multiple references:
  9. Multiple references:
  10. Multiple references:
  11. Multiple references:
  12. Multiple references:
  13. Multiple references:
  14. Multiple references:
  15. Multiple references:
  16. Multiple references:
  17. Multiple references:
  18. Multiple references: See also:
  19. Multiple references: The implementation came amid positive news about U.S. weapons sales: Conservative criticism of the policy: See also:
  20. 20.0 20.1 Multiple references: See also:
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Multiple references: Specifically on the government's admission that semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not exclusively "military equipment": See also:
  22. Multiple references: See also:
  23. Bedard, Paul (February 8, 2018). Gun sales stay red hot, third best January ever. Washington Examiner. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  24. Multiple references:
  25. Multiple references: See also:
  26. Multiple references:
  27. Randewich, Noel (April 20, 2018). Two months after Parkland shooting, gun makers' stocks are rallying. Reuters. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Hawkins, Awr (July 2, 2018). June 2018 Saw Second-Highest Number of Background Checks Ever. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  30. Hawkins, Awr (August 3, 2018). July 2018 Saw Second Highest Number of Background Checks Ever. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  31. Mosendz, Polly (September 6, 2018). The Gun Business Is Bouncing Back From a Long Trump Slump. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  32. Elinson, Zusha; McWhirter, Cameron (August 30, 2018). The ‘Trump Slump’: With a Friend in the White House, Gun Sales Sag. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  33. Sherfinski, David (November 22, 2018). Gun sales decline further under Trump. The Washington Times. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  34. Multiple references: See also:
  35. 35.0 35.1 Multiple references: Regarding comments on gun control in France and the United Kingdom: See also:
  36. 36.0 36.1 Multiple references:
  37. Multiple references: See also:
  38. Multiple references: See also:
  39. Multiple references: See also:
  40. Multiple references: See also:
  41. Multiple references:
  42. Multiple references: Subsequent actions and statements: See also:
  43. Multiple references: See also:
  44. Multiple references: See also:
  45. Multiple references: See also:
  46. Multiple references: See also:
  47. Multiple references: [1]
  48. Kumar, Anita (August 7, 2019). Trump quietly used regulations to expand gun access. Politico. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  49. Multiple references:
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 50.3 Multiple references: See also:
  51. Multiple references:
  52. Multiple references:
  53. Multiple references: In February 2019, the White House announced that President Trump would veto two proposed background check bills if passed by Congress: In December 2019, President Trump noted Texas' pro-gun laws' and armed civilians' role in stopping a mass shooter in a church: See also:
  54. Multiple references:
  55. Multiple references: See also:
  56. Multiple references: Various statements made by President Trump at the speech: See also:
  57. Multiple references:
  58. Multiple references: See also:
  59. Multiple references: See also: Articles on the broader topic:
  60. Multiple references:
  61. Multiple references:
  62. Multiple references: See also: