The NRA had one—count it one—news conference following the sea-change spree killing at Sandy Hook. Once the Code Pink protestors got tossed, NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre tried and failed to communicate sympathy, resolve and a coherent plan of action. As expected, the media wailed on Wayne as an out-of-touch gun clinger. Mind you, that’s the PR side of the coin. Down in the trenches, The NRA has had great success with their lobbying campaigns. They’re the guys walking down the corridors of power making the pols pay attention to your Constitutionally protected right to keep and are bear arms. The issue I am seeing: the NRA is still in reactive mode . . .
As soon as civilian disarmament legislation is proposed or, God forbid, passed, the NRA’s lobbyists and lawyers spring into action. They do what they can to defend the Second Amendment. Even though we live in dark and dangerous times, the NRA has made solid gains over the last few decades. They’ve stopped bad bills before. With our help, with help of all the other gun rights orgs and activists, they’ll stop them again.
The NRA’s recent victory in Illinois, for example, was one of the most important successes the gun rights movement has ever achieved. But just because a specific bill has been stopped, why should the NRA? The citizen disarmament groups certainly don’t. The NRA should be educating, spreading the good word, promoting defensive gun uses in the media (news and advertisements), taking journalists to the range.
All of these activities help to normalize guns within society. If someone is educated about guns, if they know what they can and cannot do, it’s harder for disarmament advocates to fill their minds with fear and misinformation.
Since none of the major organizations have taken the initiative to begin the pro active process, Guns Across America and a few other intrepid souls have launched their own campaigns. The Guns Across America protest is planned for state capitals across the nation on January 19th. It will take place at 12:00 noon in your time zone.
These “Guns Saves Lives” protests by grass roots organizations are taking up the challenge left on the table by the NRA. In and of themselves they will not do the heavy lifting required to protect our gun rights. But they will help educate us on how to frame the argument. There’s nothing wrong with the NRA’s collective power. But the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. It’s up to us, individually, to make our case.