Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON
After presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said clubgoers at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, where a gunman killed 49 people June 12, should have been carrying guns, many media outlets noted that Trump had staked out a position on guns in bars that was even more extreme than the National Rifle Association’s.
Several media outlets, however, also incorrectly reported that the NRA opposes guns in bars generally.
In fact, for years the NRA has made state-level efforts to allow concealed guns to be carried in bars so long as the person with the gun does not consume alcohol. The alcohol prohibition would largely operate on an honor system, as most concealed carry laws require that the gun remain concealed at all times unless being used for lawful self-defense or some other legal purpose.
On June 17, Trump said while discussing the Orlando mass shooting, “If some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here -- right to their waist or right to their ankle -- and … one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes 'boom, boom,' you know what? That would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight." (Trump later dishonestly claimed he was referring only to the arming of employees or security guards.)
Two NRA officials were asked about Trump’s remark during Sunday show appearances on June 19. NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris Cox said people drinking in clubs should not carry guns while NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said, “I don’t think you should have firearms where people are drinking.” The NRA later clarified that LaPierre was expressing opposition only to people drinking while carrying guns in bars.
So while Trump’s position is further out there compared to the NRA’s position, the NRA’s position itself is out of the mainstream.
Several outlets misreported the NRA’s extreme position in guns in bars, amid confusion over both Trump and LaPierre attempting to “clarify” remarks made about guns in bars:
USA Today: “But NRA officials said Sunday that having armed patrons in bars with alcohol was not such a good idea.”
NBC’s Peter Alexander on the June 20 broadcast of Today: “Trump’s argued that if more people at that Orlando nightclub were armed with guns strapped to their waist, and that they fired back at the shooter, the carnage would have been much less. But even the NRA pushed back against that, insisting it does not believe people should carry guns in drinking establishments.”
Associated Press: “Donald Trump is backtracking from his contention that victims of the Orlando massacre should have been allowed to carry arms into the nightclub where they were attacked -- a stance even the NRA says is untenable.”