Donald Trump on Wednesday offered his own take on the National Rifle Association, saying the group was the best of America’s big guns and urged Americans to take the fight to the NRA.
“The NRA has been in business for 150 years,” Trump said during an interview with Fox News.
“The NRA’s motto is ‘We protect our rights, and we will protect our freedom.'”
The Republican nominee’s comments came just a day after a gunman killed nine people and wounded 16 at an Oregon movie theater, a rampage that was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The president’s remarks came on the same day that a gunman at a Florida community college killed two and wounded five.
Trump said the NRA was the “last of the big gun makers” and argued that his own political ideology did not necessarily lead him to favor gun rights.
“I don’t have a lot of political views.
I don’t like politics.
I’ve had my opinions, but they’ve never changed,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity.
“I have great respect for the NRA, and I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that they’re very, very strong.”
Trump has frequently called the NRA the “biggest political group” in America.
“You know, the NRA is the biggest political group, but it’s very small,” Trump added.
“So, I’m a very small guy.
And I think that if we could go out and knock the NRA off the top of the list, that’s going to be the biggest thing that we can do.
I mean, you’re not going to have any other big group on the ballot.
And we’ll be the most effective.”
Trump’s comments come as the NRA has faced criticism for not standing up to the White House and other political leaders.
The group’s membership has fallen to just 30,000 after years of steadily increasing, and many gun owners fear they will not be able to afford a new gun if the president tries to enact gun restrictions.