After the Orlando massacre, Donald Trump repeatedly asserted that the people going to the nightclub should have been allowed to carry guns to defend themselves against the shooter. That’s right, Trump actually thought it was a good idea to let people carry weapons while drinking in a dimly lit, noisy nightclub.
You know that’s insane when even the National Rifle Association thinks it is a really bad idea. The NRA’s chief lobbyist retorted “No one thinks that people should go into a nightclub drinking and carrying firearms. That defies common sense. It also defies the law.” And the NRA VP said “I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking.”
So Trump backed down from his statement, but he did it in typical disingenuous Trump fashion. He tweeted on Monday that he was “obviously talking about additional guards or employees” at the nightclub. Yeah right. Here’s what he said on a radio show the day after the attack:
It’s too bad that some of the young people that were killed over the weekend didn’t have guns, you know, attached to their hips, frankly, and you know where bullets could have flown in the opposite direction, Howie. It would have been a much different deal. I mean, it sounded like there were no guns.
Not only that, but his excuse doesn’t even hold water. According to FactCheck.org, the nightclub did have armed security the night of the shooting. It was widely reported that an Orlando police officer traded gunshots with the shooter near the entrance to the club, before the shooter moved inside. A CNN news anchor even reminded Trump of this fact during an interview about the attack, but Trump ignored it. And two of the early responding officers who were nearby also shot at the attacker before he retreated into a club bathroom with hostages. There were plenty of guns, and they were used against the attacker, but they didn’t help.
UPDATE: Trump’s flip-flop on allowing nightclubbers to carry is just one of multiple occasions when Trump has changed his position on gun control:
In 2012, Trump tweeted that Obama had “spoken for me and every American” after the Newtown school massacre, talking about the need for gun control. But once he started running for president he routinely accused Obama and Clinton of wanting to destroy the Second Amendment. Just last month he said “The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November. The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person that you all know named Donald Trump.”
In 2000, Trump wrote in his book that he supported the ban on assault weapons (which expired in 2004). But he did a full flip-flop when he started running for president, claiming that bans on assault weapons were a “total failure”.
Last Wednesday, Trump said he would talk to the NRA about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list to buy guns. But by Sunday, he had modified his position and expressed concern about taking away Second Amendment rights, even for people who are on the list. He has also waffled on whether guns should be allowed in the classroom. I guess if you don’t like Trump’s position on something, you just have to wait a few days until he changes it.