Former US President Donald Trump may have violated firearm laws if he purchased a handgun while he was the subject of a federal indictment during a recent campaign stop in South Carolina, prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday. The court filing stated that it would be a separate federal crime and a violation of Trump’s conditions of release if he purchased a gun while the felony indictment was pending.
During the campaign stop, Trump was presented with a Glock pistol that had his likeness etched into it by the owner of a gun store in Summerville, South Carolina. According to the court filing, Trump said he had “got to buy one,” and a campaign staffer posted a video clip on social media claiming that “President Trump purchases a [Glock] in South Carolina!” However, the staffer later deleted the post and clarified that Trump did not buy or take possession of the firearm.
Federal prosecutors questioned the validity of the campaign’s statement, citing video evidence that allegedly shows Trump possessing the pistol. In response, the Trump campaign released a statement denying that Trump purchased or took possession of the firearm, asserting that he merely expressed a desire to have one.
The prosecutors made these allegations in a court filing calling for a gag order to be imposed on Trump as part of a federal case related to charges of obstructing the results of the 2020 US presidential election. They argued that Trump’s public statements, which included disparaging and inflammatory attacks on individuals involved in criminal investigations against him, could potentially tamper with witnesses or the juror pool.
Trump’s attorneys have countered that imposing a gag order on a presidential candidate would violate his First Amendment freedoms. They maintain that Trump has the right to express his opinions and defend himself publicly.
If Trump is found to have unlawfully sought to possess a firearm, it would parallel the charges faced by Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who was recently indicted for purchasing a firearm as a prohibited person.
The court filing raises questions about whether Trump violated firearm laws by expressing a desire to purchase a gun while under a federal indictment. It remains to be seen how the legal proceedings will unfold and if any charges will be brought against the former president. The case also raises broader discussions about the limits of free speech for political figures and the potential consequences of their public statements during legal proceedings.