Donald Trump and the NRA got off to a cozy start when the gun-rights group endorsed him for president, but now it appears that Trump’s penchant for causing discord might affect even this seemingly natural bond. In an interview with NBC on Sunday, just a month after promising NRA members that Trump would single-handedly save the Second Amendment, Chris Cox — the NRA’s chief lobbyist — was forced to disavow some of the candidate’s recent statements.
At a rally in Houston, Trump told the crowd that clubgoers killed in the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando last weekend ought to have been armed. “If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here — right to their waist or right to their ankle — and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes ‘boom, boom,’ you know, that would have been a beautiful sight folks,” he mused.
But Cox suggested to NBC that maybe it wouldn’t be so beautiful to allow intoxicated clubgoers to carry (and fire) loaded weapons.
At first he attempted to give Trump’s remarks a more rational spin: “What Donald Trump has said is … if somebody had been there to stop this faster, fewer people would have died,” he said. But when pressed, he added that, “No one thinks people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms. That defies common sense. It also defies the law.”
The CEO of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, echoed Cox in an interview with CBS. “I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking,” he said. “But I will tell you this: Everybody, every American … needs to start having a security plan. We need to be able to protect ourselves because they’re coming.” After the interview, the NRA backpedaled on his behalf:
Last week, after meeting with Trump, the NRA released a surprisingly sane statement on whether or not potential terrorists should be allowed to purchase firearms. “Our position is no guns for terrorists — period,” the organization tweeted. Activists questioned the sincerity of the statement, saying that, so far, the NRA has done its best to quash all legislation enforcing such a policy. But maybe the whole “don’t let people who’ve been drinking shoot guns” stance is proof its leaders are mellowing out.