“The National Rifle Association threw its weight Friday behind Donald Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee personally assured the group’s members he would protect Second Amendment rights if elected – and claimed that likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton would threaten them.”
Will it help unify the Republican Party behind Trump? Some. Gun owners and Second Amendment activists are a significant part of the GOP coalition. But Clinton and the Democratic Party are so clearly hostile to civilian gun ownership that it’s hard to imagine any NRA members voting for her, and culturally most gun owners seem to hail from the fraction of GOP primary voters which has already embraced Trump.
Trump’s official policy statement on Second Amendment rights is fine, and whoever wrote it (clearly not Trump) has a firm grounding in the issue, and Trump has even said he has a concealed carry license himself. Whether Trump follows through or not remains to be seen, but he already starts so far ahead of Clinton on the issue that I’m not sure his past support of the idiotic “assault weapon” ban some 15 years ago really matters anymore. (And even then he was saying “Democrats want to confiscate all guns, which is a dumb idea because only the law-abiding citizens would turn in their guns and the bad guys would be the only ones left armed.”)
If Trump wins in November, Republicans will almost certainly retain the House and possibly the Senate, which means no anti-Second Amendment legislation will be headed to his desk for at least two years. Trump could do absolutely nothing on guns during his presidency and still be a vast improvement over Obama or either Clinton.