Trump vows to ‘roll back’ Biden gun rules amid record mass shooting deaths

Donald Trump pledged to roll back gun regulations put in place under President Joe Biden during a lengthy speech to the National Rifle Association convention on Saturday, where the gun group endorsed him for the 2024 election.

Speaking to thousands of members of the NRA at the group’s annual leadership forum in Dallas — after arriving on stage more than two hours late — the presumptive Republican presidential nominee gave away little in the way of policy plans yet urged gun owners to get to the polls in November.

“We’ve got to get gun owners to vote,” the former president said in one of his trademark rambling speeches, covering everything from his criminal trials to trade and immigration across more than 90 minutes.

“I think you’re a rebellious bunch. But let’s be rebellious and vote this time,” Mr Trump said.

Claiming the Second Amendment “is very much on the ballot” in November, the former president alleged that, if Mr Biden “gets four more years, they are coming for your guns, 100 per cent certain”.

He added: “Crooked Joe has a 40-year-record of trying to rip firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.”

“In my second term, we will roll back every Biden attack on the Second Amendment. The attacks are coming fast and furious,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Biden’s pledge to walk back gun control measures comes as the US faces record numbers of deaths due to mass shootings.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 656 mass shootings in 2023 and a total of 18,854 deaths from firearms in addition to 36,338 injuries, making it one of the deadliest years on record. The worst year was 2021 when there were 689 mass shootings.

With gun violence on the rise, the Biden administration has taken a number of new steps to try and curb it.

One new rule aims to close a loophole that has allowed tens of thousands of guns to be sold every year by unlicensed dealers who do not perform background checks.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association Convention in Dallas on 18 May 2024 (AP)

Following Saturday’s speech, the Biden campaign accused Mr Trump of prioritising the desires of the gun lobby over public safety.

“Tonight, Donald Trump confirmed that he will do exactly what the NRA tells him to do — even if it means more death, more shootings, and more suffering,” Biden campaign spokesperson Ammar Moussa said.

Mr Biden has criticised Mr Trump previously for his stance on gun control, specifically for remarks that he made earlier this year after a school shooting in Iowa.

The former president called the incident “very terrible” only to later say that “we have to get over it. We have to move forward.”

Earlier on Saturday, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee announced the creation of a new “Gun Owners for Trump” coalition that includes gun rights activists and those who work in the firearms industry.

Randy Kozuch, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, then gave Mr Trump the group’s endorsement.

In addition to attacking Mr Biden on stage, Mr Trump also unleashed attacks on independent presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr who is running a distant third and siphoning off votes from both frontrunners.

Donald Trump finally speaks at the NRA convention after showing up hours late (REUTERS)

The former president called RFK Jr “radical left” and “a disaster” before reminding the audience that the independent candidate had once called the NRA a “terror group”.

“Don’t think about it. Don’t waste your vote,” he said. “He calls you a terrorist group, and I call you the backbone of America.”

RFK Jr has since walked back those comments, telling Fox News he doesn’t remember the 2018 tweet in which he made those remarks and insisting he supports the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms.

Polling shows that while gun regulations are a divisive issue, a strong majority of Americans support at least some limits.

In a March Reuters/Ipsos survey, 53 per cent of respondents said the government should regulate gun ownership, while 38 per cent disagreed. Among Republicans, only 35 per cent said the government should be involved.

With reporting from agencies

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