- The American Firearms Association says its members favor Ron DeSantis over Donald Trump for president.
- Trump worked hard to cultivate support from 2nd Amendment advocates during and after his presidency.
- The annoucement comes as DeSantis’ stock is rising in the Republican Party after overwhelmingly winning re-election.
A far-right gun group says its members have switched their allegiance from former President Donald Trump to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential election.
The American Firearms Association, citing a poll of its members, announced Friday nearly 69% favor DeSantis for president compared to nearly 29% for Trump. Their survey results in March were reversed, according to the group — nearly 67% for Trump and about 21% for DeSantis.
The announcement comes as Republicans are blaming Trump for underperforming in midterm elections and lauding DeSantis for overwhelmingly winning re-election in the Sunshine State. Trump is expected to soon announce his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election.
“It doesn’t really matter whether or how a poll of members was conducted,” tweeted Jonathan Allen of NBC News. “The fact that they’re releasing this is a signal to the hard right and Trump.”
The poll doesn’t appear to be scientific, by any means. The group posed the question to its 2,000-plus followers on Twitter Thursday: “Who do you support for President: Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, or someone else?”
“Gun owners want a President who will fight to tear apart unconstitutional federal gun controls on the books now for almost 100 years,” wrote Patrick Parsons, the group’s executive vice president, in a statement to Insider. Parsons is a former chief of staff to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. “Yesterday, our members showed their preference for Governor DeSantis, which wasnt the case when we polled them 8 months ago. Will that hold over the next year and a half? We’ll see what happens.”
The announcement is notable given that Trump worked hard to cultivate support from 2nd Amendment advocates during and after his presidency, including speaking at the National Rifle Association annual meeting in May just days after the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting.
DeSantis, meanwhile, has rebuffed Democrats’ attempts to expand gun control in Florida and instead focused on mental health and school security. “You focus on the lunatic. You don’t knee cap the rights of law abiding citizens,” he told reporters in June.
Allen tweeted that the Association makes the National Rifle Association “look like a knitting club,” which they apparently took as a big compliment. “Truer words have never been spoken. #2A #Shallnotbeinfringed,” the group tweeted.
The Association is run by three brothers — Aaron, Chris, and Ben Dorr, who describe themselves as political activists. The Trace and The Daily Beast, in a 2020 investigation, wrote that the brothers “are part of a circle of far-right activists who manage more than a dozen nonprofits spread around the country.”
“They have built a massive grassroots fundraising machine that churns out a steady stream of messages beseeching donations to snuff out gun control, abortion rights, and other sources of conservative outrage,” the outlets wrote, adding that some of their biggest critics are from the pro-gun community.
The NRA accused two of the brothers of being scam artists in 2019.