A spokesman for former President Donald J. Trump released a video Monday showing him at a gun store in South Carolina saying he had just purchased a Glock pistol.
The post on As he visited the Palmetto State Armory branch in Summerville, S.C., he looked at the matte gold firearm, a Trump special edition Glock that features his likeness and has “Trump 45th” written on it. “I want to buy one”, he said twice in the video.
“President Trump is buying a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!” his spokesman Steven Cheung wrote in his post. The video showed Mr. Trump amid a small crowd, posing with a man holding the gun. A voice can be heard saying, “This is a best seller”.
The statement immediately sparked an uproar and raised questions about whether such a purchase was legal. Mr. Trump is charged with dozens of crimes in two separate cases related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and his possession of reams of classified documents after he left office.
There were also questions about whether the store would be allowed to sell a firearm to Mr. Trump if people there knew he was under indictment.
Federal prosecutors are asking a federal judge to impose a limited gag order in the case that accuses Mr. Trump of violating multiple laws in his efforts to remain in office after he made repeated threats in various cases against him prosecutors and witnesses had said. Mr Trump’s lawyers were given a midnight deadline on Tuesday to respond to the administration’s request for the order.
But within two hours of the initial social media post, Mr Cheung deleted his post and issued a statement saying: “President Trump did not purchase or take possession of the firearm. He merely indicated that he wanted one”.
A man who answered a phone registered to the store owner hung up when a reporter called. A saleswoman at the Summerville location, who declined to give her name or answer further questions, said Mr. Trump did not buy a gun.
Mr. Trump is facing increasing criticism from prosecutors, security experts and others over comments he made on his social media page Truth Social related to his legal proceedings.
At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example, officials have raised increasing concerns about threats of violence as Mr. Trump and his allies have targeted the agency.
Under the main federal gun law, 18 USC 922, it is illegal for dealers to sell firearms to anyone serving a felony sentence of more than one year. Defendants are also prohibited from sending or receiving weapons that have crossed state lines.
But the law does not appear to prohibit defendants from simply purchasing or owning guns.