Eric Trump made news this week by saying that former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke “deserves a bullet,” and then, after the remark was met with dismay, promising that he would be “laying low” for awhile.
But Eric Trump often talks about guns and shooting, even when other thoughts would likely take precedence. Take, for example, the week of July 11. It began with his father’s campaign in chaos and the nation gripped by sadness and racial strife. The previous several days had brought the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two African-American men who were gunned down by cops (Sterling was unarmed and Castile had a permit to carry a weapon). Then, five police officers were killed by a lone shooter at the conclusion of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.
At Trump Tower, the presumptive Republican nominee still seemed scarcely to have a campaign at all. The Republican National Convention was just days away in Cleveland and team Trump had no apparent plan in place for it. The threat of political violence already hung heavily over the event.
With all this going on, at 1:48 a.m. on Monday, July 11, Eric Trump, 32, was apparently posting a message at Long Range Hunting, a popular hunting website where he has had an account since 2010. The post asked whether anyone was interested in trading guns: “Want to trade my Remington 40X in 22-250. The gun is a lazer (sic) and shoots small little groups using 50gr V-Max bullets and 37.0 gr H-380. Im looking for a new Ruger Precision Rifle, Accuracy International AE MIII Folder (ill add cash) …. ”
The post contained four photos of a Remington rifle — one of them close enough that the serial number of the firearm is clear. The photos may have been taken in a specialized gun room of a 230-acre Trump family estate in Westchester County, New York. (On another gun-enthusiast website, Trump lists his home residence as Mount Kisco, the official address of the estate.) A source with knowledge of the Trump brothers’ firearms collection said they keep most of their rifles there.
The user account at Long Range Hunting is tied to the same email address Eric Trump used to register the website of his foundation (erictrumpfoundation.com). A source with knowledge of Eric Trump’s postings on gun-related websites confirmed to New York that the user handle was his, as was the post in question.
Eric Trump, an avid hunter, has said that his love of shooting sports kept him away from drugs when he was younger. He and his older brother, Donald Trump Jr., have come under fire on social media for photos showing them posing with a dead elephant, leopard, and other large animals that they shot while on a hunting trip in Africa.
The Remington 40x and the Ruger Precision Rifle are both popular hunting rifles that are used for long-distance hunting and shooting. Depending on various customization options, a Ruger Precision Rifle can retail anywhere from $1,600 to $5,000. The cost of a Remington 40X is about the same.
What’s missing from Trump’s post is any indication of how the trade or sale would take place. The state of New York has very strict gun laws and requires, with few exceptions, that any trade or sale of firearms take place through a federally licensed firearm dealer. This would require Trump to physically go to a firearms dealer and complete paperwork prior to relinquishing the Remington rifle and filling out an additional form before taking possession of the Ruger Precision Rifle. Background checks would be required for both Trump and the recipient of the Remington. These rules would apply to Trump even if he were trading the rifle with someone in a state with lax gun-safety laws, like Arizona or Texas.
A Trump campaign spokesperson declined to comment on Eric Trump’s postings and also refused to confirm if the firearm had been traded or sold.