The 2024 presidential election is still years away, but the competition for the Republican nomination has already begun. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump, both prominent Republicans, are scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association (NRA) leadership forum in Indianapolis on Friday. While DeSantis has not officially announced his candidacy for president, he is widely viewed as a potential candidate for the 2024 GOP nomination.
Ahead of the forum, Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting DeSantis, released an ad criticizing Trump’s stance on Second Amendment rights. The ad claims that Trump “abandoned” NRA members and sided with “liberal Democrats” when gun rights were under attack. It also features clips of Trump speaking about the NRA, including one in which he says, “Half of you are so afraid of the NRA.”
The ad goes on to highlight some of Trump’s policy positions that the ad’s creators believe are contrary to the interests of gun owners. These include his support for “red flag laws,” his call to raise the age for purchasing assault weapons, and his backing of “taking the guns early.” The ad suggests that DeSantis, in contrast, will be a strong advocate for gun rights and will fight to protect the Second Amendment.
The ad and accompanying flyers distributed at the NRA forum are an indication of the fierce competition that is likely to characterize the 2024 GOP presidential primaries. DeSantis is seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, and many believe that he could be a formidable challenger to Trump, who remains very popular with the party’s base. The fact that both men are scheduled to speak at the NRA forum underscores the importance of gun rights as a key issue for Republican voters, and suggests that the battle for the GOP nomination will be fought in part on this terrain.