By The Associated Press Staff WriterUpdated Feb. 12, 2021 10:07:13 The hotel industry has launched a political action committee to fight President Donald Trump’s efforts to make it easier to obtain a concealed carry permit, a move that has angered some gun rights advocates.
The hotel industry’s National Association of Realtors PAC, which has been registered as a political committee since April 2017, will spend at least $5.8 million through next year to help elect Democratic candidates and elect Democratic lawmakers, according to the political action committees website.
The PAC will be chaired by the CEO of the Las Vegas-based Hilton Hotels and Resorts Corp., Michael Hargis, and will be led by John M. Gifford, the president of the National Association for Gun Rights, which opposes the Trump agenda.
The effort is the latest development in a war of words between Trump and gun rights activists who say the president’s agenda is antithetical to their right to bear arms.
In a recent meeting with the NRA, Trump told lawmakers, “We are the only country in the world that doesn’t require a permit to own a gun.”
The NRA has endorsed Republican candidates and politicians in every presidential election since 1996, but Trump has said that he supports the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental American right.
The Las Vegas hotel industry also supports Republican candidates in most of the states that elect their governors, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The NRA and the hotel industry both support expanded background checks for gun purchases, which Trump says would prevent violent criminals from obtaining guns.
The White House has said it would push for universal background checks, but it has not said whether the federal government would be responsible for such checks.
The group that is spearheading the effort is called the Gun Owners of America, or GoO.
The PAC’s website says the group is made up of over 1,500 NRA-certified gun owners, and that its mission is to “strengthen the Second Amendment rights of American gun owners by ensuring they can defend themselves and their families by arming themselves.”
“It is imperative that gun owners be able to exercise their Second Amendment right and exercise their constitutional right to self-defense,” the GoO website says.
“This is a key issue for gun owners who have the ability to defend themselves against threats to their safety and the safety of their families.”
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has criticized the NRA’s stance on background checks and other measures aimed at gun owners and the gun lobby.
The gun lobby has spent $25 million on lobbying since Trump took office in January, according the Center for Responsive Politics.
The group has also spent millions on ads targeting Democrats in 2018 and 2020 and helping Trump’s GOP opponents win Senate seats in the House.
The Trump administration has said the goal of the new effort is to help Americans who have a concealed-carry permit obtain it legally and can carry it at any time.
The new effort comes after Trump announced last week that he would ban the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
“We know we are in a political battle, but we are also in a moral battle,” NRA spokeswoman Molly Brown told The Associated Review on Tuesday.
“If you can’t exercise your constitutional right in order to defend yourself, then what’s the point?”
She added, “If the Second Amendement is really about the right of self-protection, then it should be applied equally.”
Gun rights advocates have been pushing the president to make more gun-related laws, particularly with respect to the ban on high-capacity magazines and the requirement that anyone who buys a gun have a background check.
Trump has repeatedly suggested that the ban is a way of helping law-abiding Americans.
Trump has also repeatedly criticized the gun industry, calling the industry an “enemy of the people” and saying that it has a “disgraceful” record on background check laws.
The new PAC will focus on getting “people to sign up for background checks,” Brown said.
“We don’t want them to sign the check.”
The PAC also plans to use the funds to promote gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association of America and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
It said the organization will “push for common-sense legislation to protect the Second Amendments rights of law-bearing Americans.”