Donald Trump's campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train even while the GOP frontrunner speaks out time and time again against the issues that younger voters actually care about. Over the weekend, in a series of remarks, Trump described mass shooters as "geniuses in their own way" and said that mass shootings, while terrible, are pretty much unavoidable at this point.
Trump also repeated a line a vast majority of American professors and deans disagree with:
“Let me tell you," Trump said at a recent campaign event, while discussing the massacre at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, "if you had a couple teachers with guns in that room, you would have been a hell of a lot better off."
These comments mark the latest in Trump shoring up his gun-culture bona fides. Earlier, in reaffirming his belief in the Second Amendment, he revealed he has a New York concealed carry permit.
"I have a license to carry in NY, can you believe that? Somebody attacks me, they're gonna be shocked," he said. Conservate media was impressed.
However, thanks to BuzzFeed, we know that Trump has not always spoken so strongly in favor of guns or the Second Amendment. During his bid for the Reform Party nomination in 2000, Trump had what seem like much more reasonable views on gun ownership. BuzzFeed notes that in his book, The America We Deserve, Trump laments the Columbine shooting and says "anyone could feel that it is too easy for Americans to get their hands on weapons. But nobody has a good solution.”
He also lambastes a fairly common Republican position on guns, calling for a ban on assault weapons and longer waiting periods. Trump writes:
“This is another issue where you see the extremes of the two existing major parties. Democrats want to confiscate all guns, which is a dumb idea because only the law-abiding citizens would turn in their guns and the bad guys would be the only ones left armed…The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions. I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s internet technology we should be able to tell within 72 hours if a potential gun owner has a record.”
After the shooting, Trump attempted to shift the conversation about the Umpqua Community College massacre from gun control to mental health, even though research from the University of Washington showed that mentally ill persons are far more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators.
You can read a couple more instances of Donald Trump's seeming rightward shift on the gun issue at BuzzFeed. Request for comment from the Trump campaign was not returned before publication.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org