President Donald Trump pledged his support for the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Trump delivered his Second Amendment remarks after touting his administration’s support for First Amendment religious freedom causes, such as affirming the constitutional right to prayer in school. Trump said, “Just as we believe in the First Amendment, we also believe in another constitutional right that is under siege all across our country.”
“So long as I am President, I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” he continued.
His remarks come amid the popular rise in gun control measures such as extreme risk protective order laws. The laws, also known as “red flag” laws, allow police to confiscate firearms from otherwise law-abiding gun owners believed to present a risk of harm to themselves or others.
Trump delivered his remarks as lawmakers in the nearby state of Virginia have been working towards a series of new gun control measures. Those proposed measures include “red flag” order, an “assault weapons” ban, and limits on the number of firearms a person can purchase in a month, among other measures.
Many Virginia gun owners have responded to the state’s new gun control proposals with a grassroots “Second Amendment sanctuary” movement, which has spread to 91 of the state’s 95 counties. An estimated 22,000 of those gun rights advocates also recently held demonstrations at the state capitol, on opposition to the gun control proposals.
Trump’s remarks also come on the heels of calls for gun control throughout the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate field. The Democratic race has seen candidates, such as Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke, who called for the mandatory confiscation of many semi-automatic firearms he described as weapons of terror.
While O’Rourke has already dropped out of the 2020 race, other Democratic candidates have persisted in their calls for gun control.
The race has seen the recent inclusion of candidate Mike Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York City. Bloomberg has long been an advocate of gun control.
Bloomberg’s candidacy has, thus far, included several multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns. One of Bloomberg’s most recent advertising efforts included a $10 million 60-second gun control ad which aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
Trump appeared to draw a contrast between himself and rival Democratic candidates on gun rights, despite his administration’s own gun control actions. In 2018, Trump did announce a ban on bump stocks – a firearm accessory that allows a user to rapidly fire a semi-automatic firearm. Trump’s decision did draw criticism from gun rights advocates, including a lawsuit by Gun Owners of America.