While campaigning in South Carolina, former President Donald Trump saw a handgun at a gun store with his image and name on it. “I want to buy one,” he said. An online video shows Trump in the store, but the post claims he purchased the gun. The Trump campaign said, “He simply indicated he wanted one.”
During a campaign swing through South Carolina on Sept. 25, former President Donald Trump stopped by a boat factory, spoke to supporters at a rally, and took a tour of a gun store.
While walking through the gun shop, the Palmetto State Armory in Summerville, Trump admired a Glock 19 handgun that was engraved with his image and the words “Trump 45th.” Trump said, “I want to buy one.”
A Trump spokesperson, Steven Cheung, posted on X on Sept. 25 that the former president bought the gun during his visit to the store.
Under federal law, it is “unlawful for any person under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship, transport, or receive firearms or ammunition,” according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and it is “unlawful to sell or otherwise dispose of firearms or ammunition to any person who is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition.”
USA Today reported that Cheung later deleted the post, and the Trump campaign issued a statement saying, “President Trump did not purchase or take possession of the firearm. He simply indicated that he wanted one.”
A news article about Trump’s visit to South Carolina in the Post and Courier also indicated that Trump did not buy the gun. “At no point during the visit was Trump seen filling out the paperwork required to buy a firearm,” the Sept. 25 article said.
But an Instagram post shared a video on Sept. 26 of Trump’s visit to the gun store, with the title, “Trump just bought a handgun!” That was a day after the campaign said Trump did not buy a gun at the store.
On the video, Trump can he heard saying, “I want to buy one,” and he poses with a store employee who is holding a Glock handgun.
As we said, however, the Trump campaign said he did not purchase a gun and a newspaper article about Trump’s visit to the gun store supports that account.
Update, Oct. 2: In support of its Sept. 15 motion seeking a limited gag order on Trump in its case against the former president for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election results, federal prosecutors cited the fact that Trump shared the Instagram video that claimed he purchased a handgun during his visit to the South Carolina gun store.
“The defendant should not be permitted to obtain the benefits of his incendiary public statements and then avoid accountability by having others—whose messages he knows will receive markedly less attention than his own—feign retraction,” federal prosecutors said in a motion filed Sept. 29. In a footnote to that sentence, prosecutors cited the video shared by Trump, saying he “was caught potentially violating his conditions of release, and tried to walk it back” by having his campaign issue a retraction.
“The defendant either purchased a gun in violation of the law and his conditions of release, or seeks to benefit from his supporters’ mistaken belief that he did so,” the prosecutors wrote in the footnote. “It would be a separate federal crime, and thus a violation of the defendant’s conditions of release, for him to purchase a gun while this felony indictment is pending.”
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Barr, Luke. “People under felony indictment can’t be barred from purchasing guns, judge rules.” ABC News. 20 Sep 2022.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “Identify Prohibited Persons.” Accessed 29 Sep 2023.
Colvin, Jill. “Trump admires a Glock handgun — but stops short of buying — as he campaigns in South Carolina.” Associated Press. 25 Sep 2023.
Farley, Robert, et al. “Q&A on Trump’s Federal Indictment.” FactCheck.org. Updated 31 Jul 2023.
Haberman, Maggie and Alan Feuer. “Trump Tells Gun Store He’d Like to Buy a Glock, Raising Legal Questions.” New York Times. 25 Sep 2023.
Jackson, David. “No, Donald Trump did not buy a gun in South Carolina. Here’s what happened when he saw a Glock.” USA Today. 26 Sep 2023.
Thompson, Alexander and Caitlyn Byrd. “Trump hits a gun store, boat factory and local campaign office in Lowcountry tour Monday.” Charleston Post and Courier. 25 Sep 2023.