Friday May 20, 2016 – LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The National Rifle Association endorsed Donald Trump at its national convention here on Friday, a late show of support from the nation’s biggest pro-gun-rights group for the presumptive GOP nominee.
The endorsement comes despite persistent skepticism from conservatives over Trump’s sincerity on the Second Amendment, after the candidate shifted from backing an assault weapons ban in 2000 to voicing outspoken opposition to any weapons bans and support for an expansion of gun rights since launching his presidential bid.
But the endorsement was as much a show of opposition to likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as it was a show of support for Trump. Before he announced the endorsement, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox told the crowd that “we have to unite and we have to unite right now.”
Indeed, Clinton was more a focus of NRA leaders at the convention than the gun rights they came to celebrate.
“The Second Amendment is under threat like never before,” Trump told the crowd. “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment candidate ever to run for office.”
“The Second Amendment is on the ballot in November,” he later added. “The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person that you all know named Donald Trump.”
Before Trump took the stage, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre decried her “lust for power and shocking arrogance” and framed her as a fierce opponent to gun rights.