He wrote in favor of an assault weapons ban and a “slightly longer” waiting period before gun purchases in a 2000 book, and accused Republicans of walking “the NRA line.” And even as he rebranded himself a “2nd Amendment maven” in 2013, he sounded conflicted, suggesting he favored expanded background checks.
No one on either side of the gun debate seems to know exactly when or why Trump shifted. But they agree that the mogul from Manhattan has become one of the most forceful pro-gun presidents in decades.
Now, after the worst mass shooting in American history, Trump faces a gut-check moment on guns. He could not have imagined that within his first year as president he would come under pressure, even from within his typically pro-gun party, to support legislation restricting gun use, however limited — in this case, a ban on so-called bump-fire stocks like the Las Vegas shooter used, which turn semiautomatic weapons into virtual machine guns.
White House officials, both privately and publicly, insist he is not likely to endorse fundamental change, that is, broader gun controls. Meanwhile, the gun lobby is watching.