At virtually every stop on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump has sought to strike an emotional chord in audiences with a familiar warning. “Sleepy Joe is gonna take your guns away,” Trump declared at a rally in Minnesota on Friday night, disparaging his political rival and Democratic efforts to tighten firearm controls. The death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has injected fresh urgency into Trump’s rhetoric and one of America’s most divisive struggles. Sunday, two days after the passing of the 87-year-old jurist, the president turned up the heat, appealing to gun owners in the final stretch of the campaign: “SAVE YOUR SECOND AMENDMENT, VOTE TRUMP,” he tweeted.
Nowhere does the tension resonate more than at the counter of gun dealers and trade shows. The discordant political climate, a roiling racial justice movement and fear driven by the relentless COVID-19 pandemic pushed gun sales to record levels. The FBI, responsible for conducting background checks on prospective buyers, acknowledges that surging sales pushed its system to the limit. Trump has pitched at least part of his reelection bid as a promise to assemble a Supreme Court that would serve as a backstop for a constellation of conservative stands, including gun rights. [full article]