Trump tells gun store he’d like to buy a Glock, raising legal questions

September 27, 2023

Officials have increasingly voiced concerns about threats of violence related to the former President Donald Trump’s trials, as he faces charges that would make it illegal for a store to sell him a firearm, reports The New York Times.

A spokesperson for Trump posted a video on Monday, September 25—showing him at a gun shop in South Carolina and (falsely) declaring that he had just bought a Glock pistol.

The post on X, formerly known as Twitter, included video of Trump, who is facing four criminal indictments. He looked over the dullish gold firearm, a special Trump-edition Glock that depicts his likeness and says “Trump 45th,” as he visited the Palmetto State Armory outlet in Summerville, South Carolina. “I want to buy one,” he said twice in the video.

“President Trump buys a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!” his spokesperson, Steven Cheung, wrote in his post. The video showed Trump among a small crowd of people and posing with a man holding the gun. A voice can be heard saying, “That’s a big seller.”

The statement immediately set off an uproar and prompted questions about whether such a purchase would be legal. Trump is under indictment on dozens of felony counts in two different cases related to his efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election and to his possession of reams of classified documents after he left office.

There were also questions about whether the store could sell a firearm to Trump, if people there knew that he was under indictment.

Federal prosecutors are asking a federal judge in the case that accuses Trump of breaking several laws in his efforts to stay in office to impose a limited gag order after he made repeated threats against prosecutors and witnesses in various cases against him. Trump’s lawyers were under a late-Monday-night deadline to respond to the government’s request for the order.

But within two hours of the initial post on social media, spokesperson Steven Cheung deleted his post, and issued a statement saying, “President Trump did not purchase or take possession of the firearm. He simply indicated that he wanted one.”

A man who answered a phone registered to the shop’s owner hung up when a reporter called. A salesperson at the Summerville location, who declined to give her name or answer additional questions, said Trump had not bought a gun.

Trump has increasingly been faulted by prosecutors, security experts, and others for his language on his social media site, Truth Social, in relation to his trials.

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for instance, officials have increasingly voiced concerns about threats of violence, as Trump and his allies have targeted the agency.

Under the main federal gun law, 18 U.S.C. 922, it is illegal for merchants to sell firearms to people who are under indictment for crimes carrying sentences of more than a year. Indicted defendants also are barred from shipping or receiving any weapons that have crossed state lines. But the statute does not appear to prohibit people under indictment from simply buying or possessing weapons.

Research contact: @nytimes