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The gun lobby smells an opportunity with Trump

Ahead of Friday's presidential inauguration, ITV News has travelled across the US to find out Americans' hopes and fears of a Donald Trump presidency.

On Friday, Donald Trump will inherit a country in the grip of an epidemic.

Fifteen thousand Americans were shot dead in 2016, that's far fewer gun deaths than there were twenty years ago, but the figure is still much too high.

The nation's gun owners argue passionately that "firearms don't kill people, people kill people", but the statistics speak for themselves, too many of America's 300 million weapons are still falling into the wrong hands.

Massacres in schools, churches, nightclubs and cinemas have become part of modern American life. The question President Trump will have to ask himself is: are guns the problem, or the solution?

President-elect Trump

There will be plenty of voices whispering in his ear, no shortage of people eager to sway his view.

The National Rifle Association firmly believes that if teachers, for example, were armed, "active shooters" could be taken down quickly and lives would be saved.

They're demanding the law be changed to let guns back into schools. They spent $30 million supporting the Trump presidential campaign and many here believe they'll want payback.

Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, goes even further. He wants all restrictions on firearms to be lifted.

Dudley Brown usually carries at least two weapons with him Credit: ITV News

He believes it's a fundamental American right that anyone should be able to carry any weapon anywhere. When I met him he had a pistol on his hip, he normally has another strapped to his ankle.

"Two guns are one, one gun is none," he told me.

Many Americans, of course, want stricter gun laws. The second amendment is less important to them than the need to stop the bloodshed.

But with an all Republican congress, and Trump in the White House, the gun lobby has its best chance in years to make progress, an opportunity it doesn't intend to waste.