Trump to rouse firearm owners at gun lobby gathering

Gun Rights

Donald Trump is set to address thousands of gun owners Saturday, seeking to further boost their enthusiasm for his White House bid, a day after launching an obscenity-laden tirade against his legal woes and Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Taking a weekend break from his New York criminal trial, Trump was due to address the politically powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) in Dallas, Texas, later Saturday.

The 150-year-old organization, whose longtime CEO resigned in January amid a graft lawsuit, is closely aligned with the Republican Party in opposing firearm restrictions, despite routine mass killings in the United States and relatively high rates of gun violence compared to peer nations.

Efforts at broad reforms to gun laws have been stymied for decades, with executive actions and state initiatives attacked in court by critics as infringing on the constitutional right to own a firearm, enshrined in the Second Amendment.

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Trump previewed the likely fear-mongering tone of his speech on Friday, telling a fundraising dinner in Minnesota that gun owners must vote Republican because “the Democrats want to take their guns away — and they will take their guns away.”

“That’s why I’m going to be talking to the NRA tomorrow to say: ‘You gotta get out and vote.'”

Biden has repeatedly called for a long-lapsed ban on assault weapons to be reinstated, among other restrictions.

Last month, the White House moved to crack down on firearm sales at gun shows and online that evade US federal background checks, with several Republican-led states quickly suing to block the measure.

Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement through her and Biden’s campaign ahead of Trump’s speech Saturday, saying “the choice in this election is clear.”

“President Biden and I will continue to take on the gun lobby to keep Americans safe, while Donald Trump will continue to sacrifice our kids’ and communities’ safety to keep these special interests happy.”

There were more than 40,000 gun-related deaths in the United States last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

– More ‘cheating’ claims –

At the Minnesota fundraiser, Trump falsely claimed that Biden cheated to win the state in 2020 — doubling down further on a message casting doubt on the legitimacy of US democracy — with several instances of profanity.

Biden won consistently Democratic Minnesota by over 200,000 votes.

In addition to his trial in New York, Trump faces pending criminal charges in Washington, Georgia and Florida — indictments the former president lambasted as “bullshit,” while reiterating his claim they were politically motivated.

The prosecutions are a form of “cheating on the election, no different to what they did four years ago,” Trump claimed.

He took several personal jabs at Biden in his speech, calling him “unbelievably crooked” and a “horrible human being,” while alleging the 81-year-old Democrat had taken drugs before his State of the Union speech in March.

“He is so full of shit this guy. Terrible,” Trump said.

Biden meanwhile arrived on Saturday in the swing state of Georgia, which he narrowly won in 2020, to campaign for support from African Americans — a crucial element in his coalition.

“Our democracy is really on the line,” Biden told supporters at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, a Black-owned restaurant in Atlanta.

“Listen to the things he (Trump) said. They asked him… is he going to accept the loss? He said, ‘it depends,” Biden told the crowd, referencing a recent interview Trump gave to Time magazine.

“My opponent’s not a good loser. But he is a loser,” Biden said to applause.

On Sunday Biden is due to address students at Morehouse College, a renowned historically Black institution.

bur-des/bfm

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