Donald Trump will address the NRA in Texas. He’s called himself the best president for gun owners

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DALLAS (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is expected to address thousands of members of the National Rifle Association in Texas a day after campaigning in Minnesota in the midst of his hush money trial.

Trump has pledged to continue to defend the Second Amendment and has called himself “the best friend gun owners have ever had in the White House” as the country faces record numbers of deaths due to mass shootings. Last year ended with 42 mass killings and 217 deaths, making it one of the deadliest years on record.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has been criticized by President Joe Biden, specifically for remarks he made earlier this year after a school shooting in Iowa, which he called “very terrible” only to later say that “we have to get over it. We have to move forward.”

Speaking Friday at a campaign event in Minnesota, Trump said: “You know, it’s an amazing thing. People that have guns, people that legitimately have guns, they love guns and they use guns for the right purpose, but they tend to vote very little and yet they have to vote for us. There’s nobody else to vote for because the Democrats want to take their guns away and they will take their guns away.”

He added, “That’s why I’m going to be talking to the NRA tomorrow to say, ‘You gotta get out and vote.’”

When Trump was president, there were moments when he pledged to strengthen gun laws. After a high school mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and wounded 17 others, Trump told survivors and family members that he would be “very strong on background checks.” He claimed he would stand up to the NRA but later he backpedaled, saying there was “not much political support.”

On Saturday, he is expected to give the keynote address as the powerful gun lobby holds a forum in Dallas. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will also speak at the convention. Prominent gun safety groups that have already endorsed Biden are planning to demonstrate near the convention center where the gun lobby plans to meet.

While Trump sees strong support in Texas, Democrats think they have a chance at an upset in November with former NFL player U.S. Rep. Colin Allred leading an underdog campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. No Democrat has won a statewide office in Texas in 30 years, which is the longest streak of its kind in the U.S.

On Friday, Trump campaigned in Minnesota after attending his son Barron’s high school graduation in Florida.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

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