Erich Pratt and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America are available for interviews on this topic:
Atlanta (CNN) On the eve of his 100th day in office, President Donald Trump used a speech at the National Rifle Association to help renew his standing among a conservative base that’s wary after watching the President reverse course on a series of campaign promises.
Trump declared that an “eight-year assault” on gun ownership rights had come to a “crashing end” with his election.
He vowed to press forward on his plan to construct a border wall, despite setbacks in securing funding for the project or convincing Mexico to pay for it.
And after regaling the crowd with a retelling of his Election Night victory, he revived a campaign trail insult of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who he suggested was plotting to challenge him in 2020.
Even amid the right-wing rhetoric, however, Trump warned that simply electing him president wouldn’t suffice in advancing the hard-right agenda his audience hopes to see realized.
“We can’t be complacent,” Trump said. “These are dangerous times. These are horrible times for certain, obvious reasons. But we are going to make them great times again.”
It was a moment of darkness in what was otherwise a valedictory speech to an organization that backed Trump early and eagerly. Trump lavished the organization and its leaders, including executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, with praise in his remarks, and vowed to uphold his promises.
“You have a true friend and champion in the White House. No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners,” Trump said in his speech. “No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans. Instead, we will work with you, by your side.”
While Trump, as well as his fellow speakers at the NRA meeting, decried Obama for his stance on guns, sales of firearms in over the past eight years surged, large due to fears that Obama would implement tougher gun control laws.
Persistent efforts to put in place new restrictions on gun sales, however, largely failed in Congress, even after repeated mass shootings. Obama had called the inability to pass meaningful gun control as one of the greatest disappointments of his presidency. Instead, he signed dozens of executive orders and memorandums putting in place new rules on background checks and sales.
His address Friday amounted to a return for Trump to the type of staunchly conservative setting that he used as a candidate to appeal to Republican voters. It’s the first time a sitting US president has spoken at an annual meeting of the NRA since Ronald Reagan addressed the group in 1983.
Trump reaffirmed his campaign pledges to expand gun ownership rights and roll back some of the restrictions instituted under his Democratic predecessor. But made no new policy pronouncements to the gathering, which is taking place at a downtown convention center here.