As public support for stricter gun laws has reached heights it hasn't seen in 25 years, Donald Trump Jr.'s interest in his personal arsenal apparently hasn't dimmed

By Tierney McAfee
March 27, 2018 12:31 PM

As public support for stricter gun laws has reached heights it hasn’t seen in 25 years, Donald Trump Jr.‘s interest in his personal arsenal apparently hasn’t dimmed.

The president’s eldest son, an avid hunter, recently applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, according to Page Six. Sources told the outlet that he was issued the permit shortly before his wife, Vanessa Trump, filed for divorce on March 15 after 12 years of marriage.

It’s unclear why Trump Jr. — who lives in New York City, where he runs his father’s Trump Organization with brother Eric — applied for the permit in Pennsylvania. A source told Page Six, “There is speculation that he didn’t do it in New York because you have to supply financials.”

The Pennsylvania permit is good for five years and is accepted in many other states, but not in New York, Page Six reports.

Donald Trump Jr.

A rep for Trump Jr. did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. A spokeswoman from the license to carry section of the Lackawanna County sheriff’s office, which issues the permits, said she couldn’t comment on Trump Jr.’s reported permit because such information is not public knowledge.

Asked if Trump Jr. or anyone under Secret Service protection was allowed to carry a concealed gun, a Secret Service spokesman told PEOPLE, “We don’t comment on our protectees.” (Last September, The New York Times reported that Trump Jr. had given up his Secret Service protection so he could have more “privacy.” But sources told CNN his protection was reactivated shortly thereafter.)

News of Trump Jr.’s reported permit comes amid nationwide marches for gun control following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month that killed 14 students and three adults.

According to preliminary tallies from researchers Erica Chenoweth and Jeremy Pressman, at least 1.2 million people marched for gun control over the weekend at events across the U.S. that were largely organized by student survivors of the Parkland shooting.

And a recent Gallup poll found that 67 percent of adults say gun control laws should be “more strict,” in the highest show of support for increasing restrictions since 1993.

But sources tell Page Six that Don Jr. has been lobbying his father to ignore the growing calls for stronger gun laws, particularly when it comes to assault weapons.

Trump Jr. has come under fire for hunting images he’s posed for in the past. In 2012, photos surfaced from a safari hunting trip to Zimbabwe, where Trump Jr. and brother Eric Trump posed alongside the carcasses of majestic animals. Among the images, first published on Hunting Legends, was one featuring Trump Jr. holding a tail severed from an elephant.

  • With reporting by DIANE HERBST