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In context: Donald Trump's 'Second Amendment people' comment

Louis Jacobson
By Louis Jacobson August 9, 2016

Did Donald Trump suggest that Second Amendment supporters commit violence to protect their gun rights? That’s what some heard in remarks he made at an Aug. 9, 2016, rally in Wilmington, N.C.

Here are Trump’s remarks -- which are actually quite brief -- in their full context.

"So here, I just wrote this down today. Hillary wants to raise taxes -- it's a comparison. I want to lower them. Hillary wants to expand regulations, which she does bigly. Can you believe that? I will reduce them very, very substantially, could be as much as 70 to 75 percent. Hillary wants to shut down energy production. I want to expand it. Lower electric bills, folks! Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick --if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know. But I'll tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if -- if -- Hillary gets to put her judges in."

To hear his tone of voice, check out this tweet from Politico for a brief video clip of the comments. The full speech can be seen here.

First off, we’ll note that the core factual claim here -- that Clinton wants to "essentially abolish" the Second Amendment -- is something we’ve rated False, noting that we found no evidence of Clinton ever saying she wants to abolish the Second Amendment. The bulk of her comments suggest the opposite: She wants to enact stricter gun control, but has no objection to responsible gun ownership.

But what attracted immediate attention on social media was this part of what Trump said -- "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know."

Some saw it as a joke about assassination -- either of Clinton or of Supreme Court justices.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook sent a blast email saying, "This is simple—what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way."

Others said it was much ado about nothing, arguing that Trump was simply touting the political influence of voters motivated by gun rights.

Trump campaign senior communications advisor released a statement that said, "It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump."

Our only conclusion: Trump’s rather elliptical words certainly left room for interpretation.

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In context: Donald Trump's 'Second Amendment people' comment