This week, members of the National Rifle Association will convene in Dallas, Texas to revel in their ability to buy and own guns. The group is expecting a number of high-profile guests, and one of them is the sitting president of the United States. Those wondering when Trump's NRA convention speech is will have to wait until Friday to catch the president's remarks, and if it goes anything like last year's, expect it to dominate headlines.
When Trump addressed the NRA last year, he became the first sitting POTUS to do so, The Washington Post reports. The gun-rights group has long advocated for Trump, pouring a momentous amount of money into his campaign efforts, and classifying him as a proud defender of the Second Amendment.
As for when, exactly, Trump will address NRA members — that much has not been determined, according to CNN. A White House spokesperson told the news agency that coordinators were in the process of "finalizing exact details." As of Monday afternoon, the NRA website did not yet appear updated to reflect that Trump would be appearing at the convention at all. (Vice President Mike Pence will also be speaking at the event. He is scheduled to talk on Friday, as well, according to a schedule of the long weekend.)
Though by all accounts Trump still enjoys support from the group, he did get into a touchy situation with the NRA earlier this year. After the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 students and staff dead, Trump appeared to back a few gun control indeas. Among the ideas he floated were banning bump stocks, mandating universal background checks on gun purchases, and raising the legal age to buy some types of guns to 21.
However, several weeks later, Trump claimed that there wasn't enough public and political support to raise the age to buy certain guns to 21, and said that he would have to leave that decision up to individual states. Many were quick to point out that Trump's apparent abandonment of the idea occurred shortly after he met with NRA officials in the Oval Office.
Trump also backed away from his blanket support for universal background checks. "He wants to see what that legislation, the final piece of it looks like," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing in March, one day after Trump's meeting with the NRA. "Universal means something different to a lot of people. He certainly wants to focus and improve on the background check system."
As for Trump's proposed bump stock ban, that idea seems to be stuck in legal limbo. Shortly after proposing the ban, Trump passed the buck on to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
According to CBS, Sessions wants the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to alter its regulations to say that bump stocks count as machine guns, which would make them effectively illegal. However, according to The Hill, whether or not the ATF has the authority to do so remains unclear. In other words, the proposed bump stock ban is suspended in uncertainty.
As for Trump's speech at the NRA, it's unclear whether he will have to face the music for backing, at any point in time, any of the aforementioned regulatory ideas. The NRA, by and large, opposes just about any new type of gun control legislation that is proposed, and given all the work they put into helping Trump become president, they will want Trump to continue to back their own agenda of deregulation.
"The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," Trump told attendees at last year's annual NRA gathering. "You have a true friend and champion in the White House."