Gun rights under Trump? SHOT attendants answer

With Donald Trump in office and Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress, the pro-gun community is ready to go on the offense — and several SHOT Show attendees said they hope to see some changes under the new administration.

An informal survey at SHOT Show yielded a handful of responses. About 15-20 people were asked to comment on what they thought the NRA-backed, pro-gun Trump would mean for gun rights. Many were rushing to an event, or didn’t want to talk about politics. A few did talk, and this is what they had to say…

“Considering the alternative, I think we’re in a lot better shape than we could have been in,” said retired law enforcement officer and Suffolk County, New York resident Frank Caruso. “I’m really hoping the Hearing Protection Act passes. That’d be great.”

The Hearing Protection Act would see firearm suppressors removed from the list of items regulated under the National Firearms Act. Under the law, those buying suppressors have to pay a $200 tax to the federal government. The HPA would put an end to that.

Asked about whether he thought a law would be enacted to recognize concealed carry permits nationwide, Caruso said he wasn’t very optimistic. “That might have more of a pushback from people … from the coasts,” he said.

While Caruso lives one one coast, Bob Hensel, also retired law enforcement, lives on the other. “Fresno, California … they make it so difficult there, that you can’t sell a legal firearm. We don’t have half the stuff they have anywhere else in the country,” he said, noting his impatience with freshly implemented gun regulations in his home state.

“They banned the bullet button AR’s, and high cap magazines, even guys like me that were police officers for 30 years, we had high caps — we can’t have them now,” Hensel said.

Hensel said he’d like to see nationwide concealed carry reciprocity become the law of the land under Trump. He said he’d leave California if he could.

“If I could get my wife to move, I’d be out of there tomorrow. But she’s a native Californian … and the grandkids are there, and the kids are there,” he said. “I’ll just have to grin and bear it.”

A man in the military wouldn’t go on record, but said he voted for Trump and he’d like to see nationwide concealed carry reciprocity and the HPA get through under Trump.

Asked his thoughts about gun laws under Trump and the Republicans, one gentleman in a cowboy hat said, “you wanna know the good news? I’m Canadian.” He started walking away and said, “Fix it.”

“I believe strongly that we should be able to carry our weapons,” said Marisa Frodge, a native of Kentucky. “Now I do think it’s a good idea for criminal background checks … to try to keep the criminals from having them. But, as a normal person who needs to feel like they’re safe and needs to protect themselves, I feel like they should be able to walk into any gun store and buy whatever gun they need for their comfort, as long as they can pass a background check.”

Frodge said she strongly believes in the background check system, almost to the point of universal checks. “I don’t believe that guns should be sold off the street. I think they should be bought at a professional place,” she said.

Frodge also said parents should be held accountable when children get their hands on their parents’ weapons. “I don’t think children should carry guns … ever,” she said.

“Personally, I think he’s gonna help us keep our guns,” said North Carolina native Tony Hill. “This country needs to be able to bear arms. That’s what this country’s founded on. The day they take weapons away, then we’re all in trouble.”

“The Second Amendment is a very important thing to me,” Hill said. “I hope he can turn this country around, but I don’t think no one person can turn it around in just the short terms a president has.”

President-elect Trump has said he supports nationwide concealed carry. He hasn’t gone on record concerning firearm suppressors, but his son, Donald Trump Jr., talked about it late last year.

“If you line up those votes, he’s obviously going to be for it. I mean it wouldn’t make sense otherwise,” said Donald Trump Jr. when asked about his father’s thoughts on HPA in September.

President Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States around noon local time Friday in Washington, D.C.