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2024 Republican Platform Drops Gun-Rights Promises, Downplaying 2A

In its first official platform since 2016, the Grand Old Party (GOP) slashed all mention of its gun policy positions.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) Platform Committee voted 84-to-18 on Monday to adopt the new 2024 platform language after skipping the process entirely in 2020. The finalized document leans into former President Donald Trump’s “America First” outlook and parrots many of his stances on issues ranging from immigration to trade. However, it also minimized the party’s emphasis on gun policy compared to its previous platform.

The entire platform discusses gun rights just once, in a preamble statement about the party’s dedication to defending “our fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms.” The final product omits any discussion of tangible gun policy ideas.

The Republican Party platform’s downplaying of Second Amendment issues comes as the gun-rights movement finds itself in a precarious position politically. As guns have become increasingly polarized along party lines, gun-rights supporters have found themselves reliant on Republicans for political support. President Joe Biden has made gun control a fixture of his tenure in office and is already campaigning on even more sweeping proposals, including a ban on sales of the popular AR-15, in a potential second term. At the same time, while the GOP’s current standard-bearer has continued to seek the support of the National Rifle Association and make promises in speeches to the group, he has been fickle on gun policy at times. His felony convictions also mean he can no longer legally own or possess firearms.

The 2024 platform’s cursory discussion of gun policy priorities marks a significant departure from the party’s 2016 platform. The party previously dedicated an entire section to the Second Amendment. In it, the GOP listed specific pro-gun policies it wanted to enact, as well as gun-control measures it opposed.

“We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states,” the 2016 document reads. “We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them.”

“We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle,” the section continues. “We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban.”

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