Opinion: Trump Can’t Carry a Gun, but He Might Have the Nuclear Codes Again

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty
Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero / The Daily Beast / Getty

Donald Trump’s license to carry a gun is about to be revoked by the New York City Police Department (his concealed carry permit was suspended back in April 2023, after his first indictment was handed down).

This is to say, the man who could very well be in charge of the U.S. nuclear arsenal won’t be able to carry a handgun in his home state.

On one hand, this is emblematic of the often ridiculous, sometimes amusing, contradictions of America’s federalist system. On the other hand, this is very much a story about Trump, and the unique problems and contradictions his very existence conjures and exposes.

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Consider a few examples…

Many convicted felons are not even eligible to vote, yet tens of millions of Americans will cast their ballots for a convicted felon (Trump) this November.

Trump couldn’t get a security clearance on his own merits, and has been indicted for retaining classified documents, yet he could once again be given carte blanche authority to view or declassify any document he sees fit.

Trump made his name as a New York businessman, but other civil rulings have curtailed his ability to conduct business there.

Trump is a draft dodger who could once again be the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military.

… I could go on.

Did I mention that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, and that he’s still leading Joe Biden in many polls?

Presumably, America’s founders never thought such incongruities would matter; they couldn’t have imagined that someone like Trump would get within ten miles of the presidency.

But here we are. And if these reports about Trump losing his New York carry license pan out, it will be merely the latest paradoxical development in a saga that has seen Trump lose everything except his political mojo.

First, though, it’s worth asking how Trump got his concealed carry license in the first place. New York City’s rules governing such permits are “incredibly restrictive.” The answer to this question, no doubt, hinges on privilege.

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And Trump isn’t the only member of his family to have received preferential treatment regarding gun-related issues. Back in 2019, Donald Trump, Jr., shot and killed an endangered sheep in Mongolia. Luckily, he was able to retroactively obtain a permit—after meeting with the country’s president. (Kids, don’t try this at home.)

Speaking of which, it’s not yet clear whether Trump will be able to own guns in his new home state of Florida.

So, as New York magazine’s Chas Danner jibed, “...it’s still possible that Trump could randomly gun someone down in cold blood outside Mar-a-Lago and that his voters might shrug it off as another necessary cost of making America again great. But it appears that innocent bystanders on Fifth Avenue, and everywhere else in New York, are finally safe from this troubling supposed thought experiment.”

Jokes aside, the notion that the next commander-in-chief couldn’t legally carry a handgun in New York City serves as yet another stark reminder that times are crazy.

And they might get crazier, too, as soon as Trump starts whining about having his Second Amendment rights taken away. To be sure, Trump has secret service protection, so he doesn’t really need a gun for protection.

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Still, it’s probably only a matter of time before this development becomes part of a conspiracy theory alleging that disarming Trump is the Deep State’s first step—so they can assassinate him.

Maybe I shouldn’t give them any more ideas. Besides, why make up scary stories when the truth, itself, is so disturbing.

A convicted felon who might not legally be able to carry a gun is a heartbeat away from having his finger on the nuclear button.

If you put a gun to my head, I couldn’t vote for him.

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