Media frenzy erupts over false reports that Trump illegally purchased handgun while under indictment

 September 27, 2023

Former President Donald Trump was campaigning in South Carolina on Monday and included in that visit was a stop at the Palmetto State Armory gun store and manufacturer, where he admired and indicated a desire to purchase a special edition Glock handgun, according to the Associated Press.

Initial reports from members of Trump's own team suggested that the former president had purchased the firearm, even though that purchase would be illegal under federal law since Trump is facing felony indictments.

However, it now appears that Trump never actually attempted to purchase the handgun, and the federal law in question has been found unconstitutional by a district court, though it remains in effect while an appeal is pending.

Did the indicted former president buy a handgun?

A report from The New York Times is indicative of the initial media frenzy that erupted after a video was posted on social media that showed the indicted former president admiring and talking about buying the special Trump edition Glock which is a dulled bronze and black with a gold barrel, bears an image of his likeness on the grip, and features "Trump 45th" and "Keep America Great" on either side of the slide.

In a since-deleted post, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung shared the video and wrote, "President Trump buys a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!"

Federal law prohibits firearms sales to indicted individuals

Per The Times, there was an immediate uproar after that video was posted given that former President Trump is under multiple criminal indictments at the federal and state levels and that federal law prohibits indicted individuals from purchasing or "receiving" and taking possession of firearms.

Specifically, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 922(n) states: "It shall be unlawful for any person who is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce any firearm or ammunition or receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce."

Also of note, though garnering much less attention, is that another provision within that statute would make it illegal for the gun store to sell a firearm to the indicted former president.

18 U.S.C. Sec. 922(d)(1) states: "It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person, including as a juvenile -- is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year."

Trump didn't actually buy the handgun

As it turns out, however, according to USA Today, former President Trump never actually made any attempt to purchase the special edition Glock he admired and posed for pictures with during his visit to the Palmetto State Armory gun store.

After the initial posts from Cheung and others on the Trump team were deleted, the campaign said in a brief statement, "President Trump did not purchase or take possession of the firearm. He simply indicated that he wanted one."

Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association reported exactly one year prior that the Sec. 922(n) statute had been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Texas who, in line with the Supreme Court's Bruen decision months earlier, was unable to find any historical tradition in this country of individuals under indictment being broadly prohibited from exercising their Second Amendment rights prior to trial and conviction.

That ruling was almost instantly appealed by the Biden administration and the case is currently pending on appeal at the Fifth Circuit.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.