National Review Online is the independently edited web version of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s conservative magazine. This month, in cooperation with the National Association For Gun Rights, they’re giving away a Colt 6920 like the one shown here. Go ahead and click the pic above to enter. No, really: the link will take you to the actual sweepstakes entry page. But hurry, because the contest closes Friday at 5:00 p.m. EST. And meanwhile, in Georgia…
United States Senate candidate Dr. Paul Broun is also giving away an AR-15 of unspecified manufacture, valued at $1,300.00. You can click on it to enter, too; Broun’s contest doesn’t close until February 27th.
Now that you’re back from entering both these sweepstakes, let’s think about what these contests mean for the 2nd Amendment, the Republican party, and conservatism in general.
#1: We’re Not Kooks.
William F. Buckley, Jr. founded the National Review as a bastion of principled and intellectual conservatism in 1955. His first job, as he saw it, was to rid the conservative movement of its ‘kooks’ including anti-Semites, George Wallace and the John Birch Society.
As much as Moms Want Some Action might believe to the contrary, shooters and hunters and 2A supporters are not a dangerous and disreputable fringe. We’re not kooks; we’re mainstream Americans.
The National Review, the mainstream journal of American conservatism, clearly gets this. By offering an American-made Colt AR-15 as a sweepstakes prize, they’re signaling to the rest of society that we’re not a gaggle of ammo-hoarding conspiracy theorists huddled in our doomsday bunkers. We’re one of them. We’re ordinary Americans.
#2: They Need Us.
2A supporters are smart enough to know which party respects their rights and which party doesn’t trust them. When a credible U.S. Senate candidate hands out an AR to a lucky visitor to his website, this shows that he’s actively cultivating our support.
More importantly, it shows that he needs to actively cultivate our support. And if he pisses off Moms Want Some Action in the process, more’s the better.
#3: There’s Nothing Scary About ‘Scary Assault Rifles.’
William F. Buckley, Jr. could charm the fur off a polar bear. Despite his anti-chic views, he was a sought-after guest in the New York/Long Island liberal dinner-party scene. His intellect changed many minds, while his charm and wit and sunny disposition softened many more hearts among the unpersuaded. He once said that his favorite under-used word was ‘irenic.’
The symbolic power of the National Review embracing the modern sporting rifle can hardly be overstated. With all due respect to Uncle Ted, the National Review’s endorsement sends a much more inclusive and productive message than “Suck My Glock” does.
Modern firearms are not evil, they’re not scary and they’re not dangerous. They’re just firearm and tools, and now (hopefully) icons of conservatism in general.