The NRA Should Focus on Guns – Period

I like Dana Loesch. I think she’s a patriotic American who wants what’s best for this country. I like her taste in firearms, and respect her willingness to train to defend herself and her family. I’m glad to stand with her as a supporter of the right to keep and bear arms, and I think she is a powerful advocate for her views. We probably have some areas where we disagree, but that’s okay; I don’t have to agree with a person on everything to like and respect them. I also like the NRA. It’s been out in front defending our right to keep and bear arms for my entire life. If it didn’t exist, the Bill of Rights would be in far worse shape than it is . . .

I mention this because Ms. Loesch recently posted a video via NRA News in which she rather caustically takes on what she refers to as “The Godless Left” (above). Go ahead, give it a look. I’ll wait.

My first reaction is…confusion: I don’t understand why NRA News published this video.

If you’ll forgive the somewhat vulgar analogy, the NRA’s political advocacy is kind of like sex. When it’s good, it’s really good (and it’s mostly good). But when it’s bad, it can be downright embarrassing for all parties concerned. I submit that this video falls into the latter category.

I always took the NRA’s two purposes as being political advocacy for the Second Amendment and providing training and support for people engaged in the various shooting sports. None of that has anything to do with religion, Obamacare, Benghazi, or the other political topics that Ms. Loesch talks about at length. These may, indeed, be topics worth discussing. They may even be indirectly tied to the firearms issue (as several others have argued about immigration in the past).

But if they are, the connection is not made obvious in the video. And if they’re not, I don’t think the NRA is the correct organization to sponsor a discussion on the subject. All that does is dilute the brand at a time when the popularity of firearms and the legal availability of concealed carry has expanded to new states in the north from which it had traditionally been excluded.

I don’t go to the NRA for anything other than ideas, advice, and advocacy concerning firearms. I don’t think I’m in the minority here. It would be like someone coming to TTAG and finding that, instead of articles about firearms-related topics, there were articles about religion and Obamacare, and instead of the occasional pic of an Israeli supermodel, you saw screenshots of William F. Buckley heatedly arguing with Gore Vidal about the Vietnam War.

In other words, imagine a TTAG where this:

Michal Idan

…would be replaced with that:

See what I mean?

All kidding aside, in the right context, Hillary’s incompetence as Secretary of State, the problems with Obamacare and whether or not Buckley should have just cold-cocked Vidal back in ’68 are worthy topics of discussion over a couple of bourbon barrel beers on a Saturday night. But as the thrust of a video supported by the NRA, they’re the wrong topics in the wrong forum proffered by the wrong people.

Sebastian from the Shall Not Be Questioned blog opines that videos like this may not be helping the right to keep and bear arms:

I get that the prayer shaming that followed the attack in San Bernardino made that issue tangentially gun related. But should Obamacare be an NRA issue? Why use Dana Loesch to drag NRA into all these other right issues that have exactly shit to do with the Second Amendment?

If there’s anything that’s at all certain in politics, it’s that there is no such thing as permanent majorities. Without support from Democrats and people on the center-left, there will be no way to permanently secure the Second Amendment from the depredations of those who oppose it. NRA is tying (Loesching?) the Second Amendment to the fortunes of the conservative movement. It may be successful short term, but I worry NRA is shooting itself and the Second Amendment in the foot long term.

I agree and I worry about that, too.

Sebastian also made reference to a recent article in the L.A. Times by Ken White (the founder of the Pope Hat blog on civil liberties, called ‘Cultural Bundling’ and other obstacles to a real gun control debate. In it, he offers the following thoughts, which are definitely worth considering:

Much of our modern American dialogue about gun rights and gun control is [unproductive]. We yell, we signal to the like-minded, we circle our wagons, we take shots at opponents.

Imagine that we wanted to have a productive conversation. Imagine that we wanted to identify our irreducible philosophical and practical differences, seek areas of agreement and change some minds. What might we do?

First, we could stop culture-bundling. We culture-bundle when we use one political issue as shorthand for a big group of cultural and social values. Our unproductive talk about guns is rife with this. Gun control advocates don’t just attack support for guns; they attack conservative, Republican, rural and religious values. Second Amendment advocates don’t just attack gun control advocates; they attack liberal, Democratic, urban and secular values. The gun control argument gets portrayed as the struggle against Bible-thumping, gay-bashing, NASCAR-watching hicks, and the gun rights argument gets portrayed as a struggle against godless, elitist, kale-chewing socialists.

That’s great for rallying the base, I guess, but that’s about all. When you culture-bundle guns, your opponents don’t hear “I’m concerned about this limitation on rights” or “I think this restriction is constitutional and necessary.” They hear “I hate your flyover-country daddy who taught you to shoot in the woods behind the house when you were 12” and “Your gay friends’ getting married would ruin America and must be stopped.” That’s unlikely to create consensus….

I’d ike to add that cultural bundling only serves to rally the base without adding to it. Is there anyone who isn’t already a Christian and a conservative who would be persuaded by it? Off the top of my head, we’ve had some near-fights over RKBA-related issues recently in places like Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Based on what you know about the kinds of people who are likely to live there, do you think this video helps our cause in those states?

Full disclosure: I may be a little biased here. This video pushed my buttons because I’m not a religious man. I was in college the last time I called myself a “conservative,” and neoconservative pundit John Podhoretz has called me “disgusting” because I didn’t agree with his take on firearms and self-defense. I’ve never begrudged a prayer offered in sincerity, and gladly make common cause with Christian conservatives on guns and a host of other issues. But if I wasn’t already passionately on board with the whole gun thing…well, this video wouldn’t have gotten me on the bandwagon.

The surest way to guarantee that our rights are protected is to make sure that we have broad support for them, regardless of class, race, religion, or region. We are winning in the polls. More people support the right to keep and bear arms and oppose firearms bans than ever before in my adult lifetime. It makes sense: not only do we have the nation’s founding document and history on our side, we also have basic self-interest on our side, too. That’s a winning combination in my book. I’d like for us to keep winning. Videos implying that you need to accept the entire right-wing ideological package to support the Second Amendment do us a disservice.

Perhaps I’m wrong, though. Perhaps I’m worried about nothing. Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way. But I don’t think so.

comments

  1. avatar Another Robert says:

    No, you are not the only one. I think you are right. I would not like to see this become a trend. (Yes, this is me). I will note that sometimes this forum, like any other conversational medium, can stray into tangential topics, but that is the nature of conversation. And what might look nakedly political (R vs D spats) can, in fact, be 2A-related (the overwhelming evidence is, sadly, that political-class Ds are overwhelmingly anti-gun). But NRA -branded pronouncements should be strictly 2A related if they are best to fulfill the NRA’s raison d’etre.

    1. avatar Paul says:

      I don’t know…I actually liked it! And oh by the way, she made a lot f terrific points. NRA is smart to co-mingle issues every so often and this is one of those times IMHO.

      1. avatar TStew says:

        Without being able to speak directly to you, Paul, please accept apologies for the nature of this conversational medium, but I disagree strongly with your statement as written.
        If there is a consistent message I hear from people I know on the left side of things who remain open to the idea of maintaining the Second Amendment, it is that they find the culture bundling of decrying liberal policies en masse and use of terms like “Godless” as very off putting. Very off putting. To the point of leaning the other way on guns.
        Freedom of all kinds is for all people. Messages like this video imply that gun rights are only advocated by the Christian Right and that we live in our own homogenous echo chamber. Simply. Not. True.
        I would argue that without bringing people of all persuasions and beliefs together to break that stereotype, that all hope will sooner or later be lost and the modern progressive movement will get their wish to turn us all into autonomous beings that all think alike. If it isn’t already too late…

      2. avatar 16V says:

        The reality of Dana, especially for those who know the STL…

        She went to Fox HS. (For the rest of the world, a mostly white-trash-redneck school district on the south side of the STL County line.)

        A Webster University J-Student, she was meek and mild, displaying few actual journalism skills. Then she got knocked-up and disappeared from classes, never to return.

        What she is today? Meh. Often embarrassing, occasionally correct. Way too much ‘godliness’ and such drivel to have her points actually taken seriously by anyone with a brain. But still, sometimes a useful idiot.

    2. avatar Jared Hamon says:

      NRA mission statement:

      To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
      To promote public safety, law and order, and the national defense.
      To train members of law enforcement agencies, the armed forces, the militia, and people of good repute in marksmanship and in the safe handling and efficient use of small arms.
      To foster and promote the shooting sports.
      To promote hunter safety.

      Note “To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Not to”To protect and defend the the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

      So, provided any statement or action protects any part of the Constitution they are adhereing to their mission statement.

  2. avatar dwb says:

    100% this. I was a little taken aback. We need to be adding to the base, not reinforcing the stereotype that the NRA is nothing but a bunch of white rural Christians.

    There are lots of democrats who are buying guns for the first time (because: crime, terrorism). We need a deeper presence in urban areas where the need for self defense is most acute (e.g. Baltimore, Chicago), and where the left is calling for the heads of police officers. If there are no police, how do you plan to protect yourself. To be fair, the 911 response time is a joke so the “protection” offered by police in urban areas is an illusion anyway and always was.

    The NRA should embrace diversity. That means members will have a wide diversity of opinion. But that does not mean any of those should necessarily be stamped as official NRA opinions.

  3. avatar James69 says:

    The NRA is just doing what all the others do, that is Throw money at the right people and you can get things done. I’m waiting to see the D – R -and then the NRA show up behind a guy/gal name soon.

  4. avatar Henry Bowman says:

    Sorry but Gun Rights are a part of a Culture, and that culture is under attack and in order for gun rights to be secured we must fight back.

    1. avatar Aerindel says:

      That culture is dying. If gun rights are part of it then they need to find a new home.

      1. avatar The Watchman says:

        That “culture” is only dying in your urban shithole. In the parts of America that won’t be burned to the ground by “Social Justice Warriors” it’s alive and well and you won’t destroy it.

        1. avatar Shire-man says:

          I live in a rural area of a rural state and it’s dying here too. Just slower.

          It’s beyond stupid to tie rights to how many people go to a church supper or how many wives stay at home or how many homosexuals live in an area or any other stupid thing morons claim to be their “culture.”

          It’s really no different at all from the SJW hysterics that brought us safe zones and micro-agressions.

          I’m a BOR absolutist. A liberty absolutist. A damn anarchist. And I reject any attempt to be pulled into somebodys “culture” whatever that culture may be.

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Shire-man, your ideas intrigue me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

        3. avatar TStew says:

          Shire-man, I like you. You can come to my house and I’ll share a beer/whiskey/soda/coffee/meal with you anytime!
          I wanted to go with R. Lee Ermey quote from Full Metal Jacket, but I don’t have a sister…

        4. avatar int19h says:

          Politically speaking, the “urban shitholes” constitute the majority of the population, and it will remain for the foreseeable future (if you want to see what a non-urbanized country looks like, visit Papua New Guinea). Dismiss that at your own peril.

        5. avatar 16V says:

          “Urban shitholes” are the majority of our population, and will do nothing but take percentage for the forseeable future.

          Gotta figure out how to deal with them.

  5. avatar barnbwt says:

    Leave the off-topic band-wagoning to NAGR, please…

  6. avatar Jared says:

    Very true, stop becoming a conservaclone (conservative clone) talk radio outlet.

    I’m not conservative, I’m not religious, I personally lean libertarian and I don’t believe in God.

    And while we’re on this topic, I don’t drink wine. I don’t give a shit about the wine club.

    Stop pandering to old white people. It’s 2015, not 1955.

    1. avatar Aerindel says:

      Agree!! Same here.

      1. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

        Your a heathen and I agree

    2. avatar Don Nelson says:

      Godless conservative libertarian here. I agree.

      1. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

        I’m an indifferent agnostic libertarian myself. I don’t know if there’s a god and I don’t care. I live a good, honest, moral life because it’s the right thing to do, not because I fear being punished by some hypothetical metaphysical entity.

        1. avatar Warewolf says:

          My family is a few hundred strong (just in this country), and we have folks all over the demographic map. Some live quite well, some less than others, some are church folk (does not imply Christian), and some are not. We have traditional marriages, we have LGBT, and we have other arrangements for living that I still don’t fully grasp. My family is split between groups of Dems, Repubs, Libs, and “other”. We have kiddo’s still in their single digits, and folks that have seen the Great Depression all kicking around on this dirt ball flying through space…

          We have first responders, military, healthcare, oil industry, engineers and technologists, banking industry, and folks with entry level jobs just trying to keep food on the table etc…

          We have people that use firearms as part of their daily life, we have folks that hunt, we have folks that shoot for sport and competition. Most of them own a firearm or more, many of them use them at least a few times a year, some keep them just for home safety, and of course we have a few that don’t understand guns…

          You won’t win our attention by touting this stuff is god given, because our family respects the freedom to adopt moral systems of your own choosing. You won’t win my families respect by treating gun owners as homophobic, as we all come together for things like Independence Day cookouts and other holiday events. You definitely won’t win our support by trying to make us remember the golden era, as many of us live near or in urban centers and embrace technology and other modern advancements. Even my grandmother who was born at the tail of the Great Depression and came through Ellis Island as a little girl has several computers, a cell phone, and reads from a tablet instead of paper books.

          This is just my family, a spec of dust among the population. I imagine my family isn’t unlike most in America today. Pro freedom campaigns of any sort need to find a way to speak to all of us if they want to ensure high participation, and keep the support checks coming through the doors.

        2. avatar Wade Garret says:

          I am an antagonized librarian who believes Santa Clause is a Jewish werewolf. Where does that leave me in all of this?

    3. avatar Kendahl says:

      As an OFWG, I resent being stereotyped. I’m a libertarian, not a right-wing Christian. That said, I have nothing against right-wing Christians, or any other group, as long as they don’t try to impose their beliefs on others.

    4. avatar Lost Down South says:

      Spot on. Grew up a progressive liberal, changed quite a bit since then, but really can’t call myself a conservative. Circling the wagon again all people who don’t agree on 100% of your agenda is dangerous. And you’ll eventually lose.

    5. avatar Defens says:

      I get your point, but actually you were a bit insulting with it. I also lean libertarian, am atheist, appreciate my 2A rights. I also like a good glass of wine, AND was raised on a farm, but am now a professional scientist. I was born in 1955 and am white – not all OFWG are the same, either.

      1. avatar Jared says:

        Speaking bluntly and direct is often mistaken as bein insulting. I’m a benefactor NRA member and they definitely cater to old white people. I get so much propaganda from them as a benefactor member and it’s almost always dancing around a time capsule to the 1950’s as if they were great, when in fact, they were a horrible time for gun owners. Only RI and NH were shall issue at that time (VT was always VT carry) no one else. Every po dunk county had gun laws and put travelers in the hands of 1000’s of jurisdictions.

        I encourage for an NRA type group to pop up to cater to older demographics, but not the NRA, they should be a 2A powerhouse and keep trying to appeal to younger generations, which they have gotten better at.

        Look at SAF, they just focus on 2A issues, nothing else. You can’t be all things to all people.

  7. avatar Stu in AZ says:

    I couldn’t get through the video. Don’t like how angry she was acting. Definitely not the way to portray pro-2nd amendment people.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I had the same thought. “Angry church lady yelling” is a terrible recruiting tactic. Even if the content of the video were in line with the NRA’s mission, her presentation would be off-putting.

      1. avatar Robert Farago says:

        When she’s among friends, as she was at the Bullets and Bourbon confab, Dana is low-key, personable and quietly and hilariously sarcastic. Her anger is not misplaced. But tone matters.

        As for TTAG’s digressions – which inevitably follow any mention of abortion, religion or foreign policy – we encourage them. TTAG’s readership is some 75% college educated. These discussions are informative. We do, however, monitor them for tone. They must adhere to our posting policy: no flaming the website, its writers or fellow commentators. No ad hominem attacks of any kind.

        If you see that sort of comment, please email thetruthaboutguns@gmail.com with FLAME in the subject bar with a cut and paste of the comment and a link to the post. Thank you.

  8. avatar jwm says:

    Maybe it’s time for the NRA to be an all encompassing civil rights group. Since the aclu has declined to protect all rights and is spriralling to the progressive left maybe we need an alternative to rally behind.

    1. avatar Katy says:

      The NRA, and the 2A movement generally, can’t afford that. As the major face, they are emblematic of the group as a whole and need to continue along that path.

      Another organization can fill the conservACLU void and may do very well. I suspect that there is enough money that they could rival the NRA for revenue, which would provide two strong branches to provide continued support from multiple angles.

      It comes down to whether the NRA wants commercial success or 2A protections.

    2. avatar foo dog says:

      I agree with Johannes and jwm. I REALLY LIKED THIS VIDEO. I just wish it wasn’t branded NRA.

      The success of the NRA has been from its focus on 2A rights.
      When you lose focus, no matter how righteous and powerful the message might be,
      you run the risk of missing the target, and causing collateral damage.

  9. avatar OakRiver says:

    Believing in the right to keep and bear arms is not dependent on the belief in God. By connecting one as a prerequisite of the other we move the focus of the discussion away from where it needs to be. This was a tactical mistake by the NRA which only serves to provide evidence that gun owners are “bitter clingers”.

    1. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

      Apparently, to some, it is in fact a prerequisite….

  10. avatar the ruester says:

    All of the issues raised have a common theme; disregard of the constitution. It would be foolish to ignore any of it. Immigration, Obamacare, lil sisters of the poor, and a list of other “red meat” issues that you don’t think relate have a common thread running through them; many were EOs or directives that were challenged and defeated or partially overturned in court. It establishes the spectre of impending government control. And no I don’t blame them for doing it, if it were me there would be clips from “Road Warrior” mixed in.

  11. avatar Al says:

    Agree or disagree that was a commentary and the disclaimer at the beginning though diluted, says that the opinions stated are not necessarily the view of individuals or organizations.

    I think it is important to point out that this is a response to where the Chris Murphys’ have gone and it is important in that way.

    1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      What is the point of the “NRA News” organization anyway? Is NRA News really supposed to be a true “News” service publishing news and commentary of any kind, regardless if the connection to guns/RKBA advocacy is kind of thin? (Not a rhetorical question…. though it doesn’t seem to be the case, based on their ‘about’ page: https://www.nranews.com/)

  12. avatar dph says:

    Hope you don’t have to go from favorite Israeli supermodel to favorite Israeli felon.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pretty-penny-supermodel-bar-refaeli-under-investigation-tax-evasion-n481991

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Taxes are for the ugly people. And I swapped out Bar for Michal. Because guns.

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        aha–wondered what happened there between visits to this thread…

        1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

          Ha! So was I….

  13. avatar Adam says:

    Christianity and the church is the last firewall to protect our freedoms. As Christianty is pushed out of the conversation, eventually our freedoms will go with it. Trying to push the church, or Christians out of the conversation has got to be the dumbest move we can make.

    1. avatar TravisP says:

      I don’t think that was his argument, he isn’t advocating pushing Christians out of anything. He’s saying a 2A organization should stick to 2A issues, outside of the Godless left comments there was numerous jabs, and comments about things non gun related in the video. It’s like the NRA coming out with the Truth organization and trying to convince people to stop smoking, or for them to come out with an eat right video.

      1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

        Quite right.

    2. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Yes, because when I look back over the last thousand years or so, the one force that has reliably safeguarded things like freedom of speech and religion, due process, and scientific study, has always been the church.

      They don’t make a sarc tag big enough for this post.

      1. avatar ThomasR says:

        Don’t get to smug Vhyrus. Those in power will use what ever is the most prominent belief system in it’s attempt to rally the “useful idiots” to enforce tyranny and to commit mass slaughter.Such as Christianity when it became the state religion of the Roman Empire and then the Catholic Church during the dark ages.

        But for the last hundred years, the current power structure is using atheist/agnostics in the current belief system of Communism and all of it’s spawn, ie (marxism, socialism and progressivism) to rally the “useful idiots” in enforcing tyranny and to commit mass murder.

        It also uses the mind control techniques of being “politically correct” to enslave the mind and to stop people from questioning the main tenets of the Progressive agenda.

        Such as the suicidal idea that ” being Multi-cultural makes us stronger”; the bizarre idea that abortion is anything other than murder; and the history denying idea that “radical muslims terrorists” are not simply being devout in emulating the actions of muhammad.

        1. avatar H says:

          If multicultural doesn’t make you stronger then what is the United States? British?
          Many people of European descent consider themselves Americans. Yet they have experienced cultural or nationalist prejudice manifested through restrictions in housing education and employment.

          The phrases, “dirty, ignorant, stick to themselves, lacking morals, promiscuous, lazy, coming to take our jobs, desire to live off the state, will outbreed us” have been used toward Germans, Poles, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Irish, & Scots. All white. Then it was used against distinct groups of Protestants and of course Catholics.

          History shows that the powers that be divide and conquer. We the sheeple don’t know our history and believe this stuff. They keep the people sedated with benefits and tell them the blame is another group. How did a Mexican take your job? The man a white man who owned the company laid you off and hired the Mexican for less money. Did you complain? Did you mobilize? A white man moved your manufacturing job off shore. Not the Asian who assembles your goods. Stop buying from Walmart etc. But No. The prices are so good….

          Your culture is your religion and your arts and history. You don’t have to exclude others to keep yours. No one is protesting to close “little Italy” in your town. Why? We love it. We have an American culture that includes all peoples. That is what makes us great.

        2. avatar ThomasR says:

          Multi-cultural like Europe? That made them stronger? Oh, we have those many centuries of war fare, including the two world wars. Multi-cultural like the Balkans? That made them stronger? Umm, nope. Multi-cultural like the Native Americans? That made them stronger? Ummm, nope. Particularly the Native Americans, because they did not see themselves as one people, the Europeans used the divide and conquer technique very effectively to have the different tribal groups fighting each other instead of their common enemy.

          I’m German, Scottish, French and rumored Native American. So which one should i call myself? All of them? No, I’m just an american, thank you very much. Citizen of the greatest country on earth. I have no interest in identifying myself as some hyphenated member of some other ethnic,racial or cultural identity.

          Multicultural is being used today by progressives to divide us. Divide a people along ethnic, racial and religious lines and they are easier to control, and easier to conquer.

          We are the melting pot, in as we are all Americans. Not some type of Hyphenated whatever.

      2. You don’t need the church to be spiritual. Saying that the left is Godless and therefore an affront to American values is not an endorsement for any religion be it Christian, Judaism or Buddhist, etc. It simply accurately explains how this enemy of freedom reconciles their vile actions because they do not answer to a higher calling, be it a God external or inner conscience.

    3. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      As I said above, I do not consider myself a Christian, but will gladly make common cause with them to defend liberty for the good of all of us.

      And it is worth adding that many Christians have actually been on the right side of the fight for liberties lately.

  14. avatar Jason says:

    Based on his commentary about the Wisconsin revolution that brought conservatives to Wisconsin, John Podwhoretz is a certifiable moron. Don’t worry for one moment about what he thinks.

  15. avatar Carsickplatypus says:

    If you really wanted to protect your precious gun rights, then you’d be a White Nationalist. Around 85% of the non-Whites in America vote for the anti-gun Democrat Party in Presidential elections. You can do all of the outreach that you want, it’s not going to prevent the Supreme Court from getting stacked with anti-gun liberals.

    Over 1 million (soon to be 3+ million) non-Whites are legally immigrating to America annually (thanks primarily to Jews who lobbied for immigration reforms throughout the 20th century). On top of that, several hundred thousand illegal immigrants are entering America annually. That has resulted in Whites comprising about 90% of the American population during 1960 to White children now being racial minorities in America.

    A demographic tidal wave is on the verge of destroying White America and the Republican Party. And with the death of White America and the Republican Party, so too will the 2nd Amendment also be destroyed – and there’s nothing that we can do about it.

    White people, conservatives, and the NRA refusing to speak out about our rapidly changing racial demographics has condemned our country to becoming a 3rd world cesspit controlled by the anti-gun Democrats.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Between Blain Cooper and carsick I’m starting to think we draw crazies like honey draws flies.

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        There are always going to be a few on every comment thread everywhere. Hopefully we just have our fair share and not a disproportionate amount (just don’t count the trolls).

        1. avatar jwm says:

          There have been studies done that point towards “trolls” as being mentally ill. So, maybe it’s appropriate to count the trolls in with the crazies?

      2. avatar TravisP says:

        You can buy troll insurance now, well in the UK anyway

      3. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Well I for one find it pretty funny that a neo-nazi is trying to equate the support of fascism with increased civil rights.

      4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        jwm,

        I don’t know about Carsickplatypus’ “white nationalist” comment. I do know that non-white demographics are RAPIDLY outpopulating white demographics. Combine the facts that non-white demographics historically are rabidly anti-gun and a non-trivial number of white demographics are also anti-gun, and the future implication is inescapable: if we fail to reach most anti-gun white an especially non-white demographics, our state and federal government will criminalize firearms ownership and possession. The only question is how soon.

        The overarching tragedy here is anti-gun demographics demonizing good people, who have no desire to and have not harmed nor interfered with anyone, for having the means to defend themselves … something that is both a Natural and Judeo-Christian right. If that time comes to pass, what option do good people have?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I agree and have always said we need to reach out to all people to secure our rights. I don’t believe carsick is our chosen spokesperson in this endeavor.

        2. avatar Carsickplatypus says:

          The common conservative rhetoric about winning over non-Whites and White Democrats is completely delusional. Even if you could win over a massive amount of people on the gun issue, you’re never going to change the official platform of the Democrat Party or change the minds of their elites. It would be like liberals trying to win over conservatives and therefore transforming the Republican Party into becoming a pro-abortion movement. Good luck with that.

          The Democrats are always going to be hostile towards the 2nd Amendment, and they’re going to dominate the Executive branch (and thus the Judicial branch) for the foreseeable future.

        3. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Carsickplatypus,

          Democrats can have whatever platform they want. If a large number of Democrat supporters stand behind the Second Amendment, then they can choose Second Amendment friendly candidates in the Democrat primaries.

          Saying it another way, if many/most Democratic voters are staunch Second Amendment supporters and Democrats are guaranteed to win all future elections, then we simply win in the primaries. In that environment it won’t take Democrat politicians long to figure out that they will have to support the Second Amendment if they want to keep their job.

          Either way, we want to reach as many people as possible to staunchly support the Second Amendment. Whether or not those people vote for Democrats or Republicans is immaterial as long as the Democrats or Republicans that they elect support the Second Amendment with their votes on the House, Senate, Assembly, etc. floors.

        4. avatar foo dog says:

          carsick- there are literally dozens of websites where you can spread your dogma.
          Just dont drop the skin-head troll dung here, m’kay?

          2a support yes. Linking 2a rights to neo-nazi ideology – no. Lame, pathetically lame, and so lame that one has to wonder if you aren’t a paid troll for some outlet on the Left, CAP funded OFAtards.

          Or the certifiable loose screw one often finds online, one of the lost village idiots from Kos, DU, or PuffHo’s.

      5. He isn’t wrong about the changing demographics resulting in loss of rights in the US. I don’t agree with the antisemitism or white nationalist sentiment, but he correctly identifies a problem we face.
        We have two choices in retaining our rights. 1) elect more Conservatives or 2) disobey unconstitutional laws.
        Most black people I know own guns, pay very little in taxes and attend church regularly. Yet most of those vote Democrat. When laws get passed that raise taxes, restrict gun ownership or suppress open displays of religion, they cheat on their tax return forms, buy illegal guns, and remain silent about their faith.
        Whites do the same thing but I don’t know many whites that vote Democrat.

    2. avatar int19h says:

      I hope you’re all ready to welcome and embrace the new face of the GOP, courtesy of The Donald.

  16. avatar rammerjammer says:

    Americans have every right to believe that which they want. We also have the right to disagree and even go so far as disrespect or openly mock what we disagree with.

    The proselytizing she is doing is over the top and not necessary in the struggle for the Second Amendment. She is mostly on track in regards to the ridiculous PC culture we suffer under but her hyper Christian rhetoric is also its own form of political correctness in that it wants to stifle all dissent. Why is she even mentioning the “war” on Christmas and other such hyperbole?

    The preservation of the Second Amendment and our inherent right to self defense must be open to all lawful citizens and does not need to be labeling, name calling or closing doors on whole groups as Dana is want to do

  17. avatar DisThunder says:

    Yeah, I didn’t care for the video much at all, either. I don’t give a damn how the NRA feels about God, Religion, Benghazi or Obamacare- unless they plan to offer health insurance to members, then go right ahead on the last one. They made good progress toward a more modern message in recent years, but this is a huge step back.
    And no, hitching to the Republican wagon is a terrible idea- Paul Ryan, anyone? Stick to supporting gun right candidates, regardless of party. 99% are Republican anyway, but that’s a much more defensible position to take than literally picking a political side.

    I’ve been displeased with the NRA since last fall when they popped the champagne for leading the charge for the conservative “victory” elections. Because while they were patting themselves on the back, and high fiveing useless establishment Republicans, Oregon and Washington passed UBC laws. Those were big losses for gun rights in battleground states- the exact kind of politics the NRA should be focused on.

  18. avatar Sean says:

    I totally agree.

    That being said, the belief that you have a human right to self defense almost naturally pushes you into a conservative mindset. People who believe government should be responsible for any and all protection would have a hard time agreeing that we need protection FROM government.

    In my experience, people who believe in a natural right to armed self defense are not liberal / left leaning (socialist). I’d say it’s not possible most of the time. Just my thoughts.

  19. avatar LarryinTX says:

    I sorta agree, is that clear enough? I am happy the NRA has its different branches separate insofar as my contributions go. I am happy to donate regularly to NRA and to NRA-ILA, but stopped years ago donating to NRA-PVF, as they support a lot of people with stated goals which I completely disagree with. If there were only one site to donate to, I would not donate at all. NRA and NRA-ILA do some great things in supporting individuals and groups in court address legal questions and persecuted individuals, and lobbying efforts. NRA-PVF supports the stronger supporter of firearm rights regardless of the candidate’s other positions, including stated intentions to force women to become subservient to men, and force religion on me and mine. They do not get my money, if I wish to support a candidate I will do so directly.

  20. avatar Louis Marschalko says:

    Ever attend an NRA national convention?
    They’re pretty conservative, Republican, Christian, pro-military, etc., etc. The whole nine yards. It’s how we roll. Good, bad, I dunno? But it is what it is. Personally, I think it helps to build esprit de corps and solidarity among our base. Does it narrow our base? Maybe a little bit, just a guess.

    1. avatar Michi says:

      This actually isn’t a loaded question — Do you guys (Arrow Cross) align with the German Nazi Party on the whole Aryan Master Race thing? Or is it just the anti-Jewish ideals where you concur? (I’m neither white nor Jewish.. and I’m a confused cynical doubting agnostic at best.)

      I think it would be interesting to ask you some questions as far as certain groups participation in pro-2A activity, and what the OP said about cultural bundling,(such as whether or not you feel that the pro 2A tent can afford to alienate Jews and non – whites) but to be honest I can’t find the info too readily.

      While that may sound like I’m being underhanded here and calling you out, tone doesn’t convey well online — I really am not. I actually want to know and don’t want to assume.

      Personally I think it’s a math problem. (Oh I would, wouldn’t I..) and we need all the support we can get.

      With figures like Colion Noir, IMO, showing some folks “huh, gun owners can look like me, too”– I think the NRA’s reach is expanding. But then I see videos like the above, and think “damn.. well, I don’t subscribe to the whole package, maybe I should rethink whether or not I’m actually welcome as a member.”

      Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been close to pulling the trigger on a life membership. But then seeing stuff like this video and thinking supporting the SAF may be more well placed.. (vs sending money to C2AA when it was around.. really nonpleased that they’re gone.. and holding my nose and supporting RMGO, which I think hasn’t actually done any pro-2A stuff in the last 5-8 years..)

      1. avatar Louis Marschalko says:

        The online identity you seem to be referring to might well have been a bit too “edgy” in the old order of Internet literalism. But in our current age of “trolling” (no, not the old kind of trolling) and “memes” it serves a purpose. Take the “Twitter Wars” our Republican candidates are engaging in – saying things and calling each other names which would have got them tossed as serious contenders in previous election cycles.

        We call The Donald “Our Glorious Leader” and “Der Trumpenführer” because those are memes and not policy statements.

        We seek to move the “Overton Window”, not produce philosophical tomes. BTW, I do not post inflammatory statements or opinions here. Nor do I post links to such. It is always an amusing test to see how many can accurately identify a rather obscure avatar or persona. You did. Congratulations & Merry Christmas!

  21. avatar plinkrblastr says:

    Johannes Paulsen’s commentary, as well as that of the bloggers he quotes, is absolutely correct. Cultural bundling is a great term for a self-defeating strategy that many advocacy groups fall into to their detriment.

    I barely made it halfway through Dana Loesch’s video. What I saw was awful, and I was embarrassed to see my NRA logo on the screen associated with it. I’ve been thinking of upgrading to life membership before the rate bump, as I am passionate about firearms freedoms, but I don’t want to be tainted by association with this kind of screaming vitriol. Leave your bible out of it, and all the other extraneous reactionary chum too.

    To be honest, I don’t watch much of this type of stuff, anyway. But I’d say what the NRA needs are more people who can act as ambassadors for the shooting community and who don’t come off as angry ranters. People like Hickok45 or Kirsten Joy Weiss.

  22. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    It is always instructive to witness how bent out of shape non-thiests get over any mention of God. Are your beliefs so fragile that a mere mention viokates the safe space of your world view?

    One, the video is in response to a vile rhetorical attack on people of faith, as part of an effort to push the civilian disarmament agenda. In that cobtext, a response by the POTG was fully warranted.

    Two, the video was not specifically defending Christians, but rather all people of faith who had their beliefs mocked and ridiculed.

    Three, the harsh reality is: if there is no Supreme Being who created man and endowed man with certain unalienable rights, then our rights are neither inherent nor unalienable. They are merely morally specious assertions. For people of faith, support for our natural rights is deeply, inexorably intertwined with our belief in God. The two cannot be separated.

    The video was neither preaching nor proselytizing; it was defending.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Many people who don’t believe in God believe that our rights are natural. Is that good enough?

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        Interesting concept, but as I see nature, nature doesn’t give a hoot about rights. The zebra may have a “natural right” to drink water at the same water hole as a lion (or hyena, if you prefer) without being eaten–but if so, it is a pretty meaningless “right.” Without some external, immutable standard, everything is subject to change and no one can say whether it is for good or evil.

        1. avatar Kyle says:

          Natural rights means basically those rights that everyone understands, human and animal (well mammals anyway), and that are how humans and animals function in raw nature.

        2. avatar Another Robert says:

          Are you prejudiced against reptiles? Seriously, that statement didn’t make much sense, , non-human mammals don’t recognize any “rights” that limit their own self-interest. They do whatever it takes to keep their own skins intact with no compunction other than some species-preserving instincts (like a mother sacrificing to save her brood).

    2. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

      Allah and god can give, and take away, no? So maybe the gods no longer wish that we in the us should have guns, thus she put anti-gun people into politics….which now makes sense.

    3. avatar ThomasR says:

      I know of what Dana speaks, Chip.

      As a once agnostic libertarian on the west coast, I can speak from personal experience that i had been taught to see all people of faith, but particularly Christians, as fools, and worse. That the Christians were to be looked at with derision, contempt and seen as barbaric relics of a savage and shameful past. That everything that was wrong with this country was because of the Christians in their refusal to allow the passage of laws that could make this country a paradise.

      Until I felt the presence of the universal intelligence, and it was complete and total unconditional love. In time, I became a baptized christian, and I saw that I had been blind, and by the grace of G-d, I was allowed to see. That infact, the entire progressive agenda is a societal suicide pact, and it will destroy any culture that has it as it’s primary belief system.

      So in the end, Chip, those that live by the laws of the universe, ie the laws of G-d, will prosper, those that defy the laws of the universe, like those that defy the laws of gravity, will pass away.

      All species that defy the laws of nature face the same fate.

    4. Best post in response to this article.
      Amen Chip!

      BTW, Agnostic here but I know a good thing when I see it.

  23. avatar juliesa says:

    I personally agree with everything in her video, but I think Johannes is right. It’s too strident and unfocused for the NRA to be using to attract new supporters. It’s great for firing up the GOP base though.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      If the thought of the hildabeast in the oval office doen’t fire the gop base up, nothing will.

  24. avatar Don says:

    I got through the video, it was awful, off-topic, and off-putting. Very embarrassing. I don’t think I like Loesch anymore either. She spits the word “godless” the same way a racist person says the n-word. This video will do more to rally people to the anti-NRA side than it will to rally people to the NRA. I feel driven away when I watch it.

  25. avatar Gabe says:

    There is a disclaimer in the video that states the NRA may not share the same opinion.

    1. avatar Don says:

      Gun rights are about the free people in a democratic republic remaining empowered as a safeguard against corruption and extremism. The end.

      To this person gun rights are apparently a subordinate issue related to an angry sub-culture’s Christian jihad to establish a theocracy. “My jihad is better than your jihad!”

      How about no jihad? A diversity of beliefs is not a culture war, it is American culture.

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Those kinds of disclaimers are just disingenuous, boilerplate ass-covering. This is a highly-produced and edited video, not some blog rant tossed off while waiting in an airport. If the NRA didn’t agree with the content, it wouldn’t have been posted on their website.

    3. avatar SteveInCO says:

      It says that other people or organizations won’t necessarily agree. The NRA isn’t an “other” organizaiton, it’s “this” one (the one putting the video out). So I don’t think the disclaimer means they disagree.

  26. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    Agree. I view it the same as the Unions that lose focus on representing the workers by generating a lot of effort in political causes not directly related to working conditions. The union leadership thinks of it, I believe, more as a pay back to the folks (politicians/organizations) who support the unions and ensure they’ll continue to do so. But, it inevitably dilutes the unions effort as well as piss off a lot of members since for any controversial issue there will be members on both sides.

    I think there’s a lot to the culture argument but, the NRA should only fight the firearm portion of it. I don’t care whether someone calls themselves a dem or a repub or a green or an independent (list budget showed there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them anyway when it counts) when it comes to firearms. I only care that they’re onboard with protecting the 2A whatever their motivations.

  27. avatar John says:

    OK so “maybe” the video was a little bit “off topic”, but this article is “More” than a little bit hypocritical.

    POTG constantly want to make comments comparing the protection of the 1st Amendment and how people wouldn’t stand for the 1st Amendment being treated the way the 2nd Amendment is. This is purely hypocritical as several of our constitutional rights have been under attack. The 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 14th etc. and it is all by the same people for the same reasons.

    I think its about time the POTG started defending the Constitution as a whole and not just the part they care about. Its not just about guns, its about Freedom, Rights and American values, something this country is getting further and further away from with every generation.

    1. avatar Michi says:

      So you’re saying TTAG needs to start posting, for example, non gun-related posts on how gays and atheists and Muslims are destroying the US? You think that would help?

      1. The video was hardly “non-gun related” and TTAG persistently advocates homosexuality. I don’t have a problem with that or I would not read here regularly. What I do have a problem with is your failure to recognize hypocrisy.

  28. avatar Geoffrey Hoffman says:

    The 2nd amendment world has a lot of atheists or agnostics too, and stuff like this can put them off. I agree with the article and all the comments; the NRA is better off sticking to firearms and firearm issues.

    And I’ve seen this video linked from several left-leaning blogs in a negative manor. Helps their narrative that the NRA is a bunch of ignorant, racist, religious freaks who have gun fetishes. I think Colion’s rants about this are better; same level of indignation, but more specific to the issues and addressing the ignorance that feeds the other side.

  29. avatar Ed Davis says:

    Mr. Paulsen,

    Like you, I am not particularly religious, and this video doesn’t appeal to me. I also believe that an enterprise is well-advised to focus resources on its core mission. Having stipulated these points where we agree, I believe you are suffering angst over a trivial issue.

    As you tangentially observe, the Leftists who hate the Second Amendment revile the other nine “as a bundle,” and they are vulnerable on many issues. I do not believe that our side should spend time worrying whether Loesch’s message might alienate some potential ally in Maine. The good citizens of Maine are likely intelligent enough to parse the information, and I believe we should adopt the strategy attributed to General Patton: Don’t worry about your flanks–attack and let the enemy worry about his flanks.

    I see no evidence that the gun-control lobby has any interest in a reasoned debate of the facts, and I, for one, am through with this approach. I am also completely beyond editing my opinions to avoid offending people, who through ignorance or malice desire the “fundamental transformation” of this nation.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Mr. Davis,

      “I see no evidence that the gun-control lobby has any interest in a reasoned debate of the facts, and I, for one, am through with this approach.”

      Agreed. See my comment below which describes the core problem.

  30. avatar GuyFromV says:

    Pope Hat is a great blog.

  31. avatar Don says:

    Gun rights are about the free people in a democratic republic remaining empowered as a safeguard against corruption and extremism. The end.

    To this person gun rights are apparently a subordinate issue related to an angry sub-culture’s Christian jihad to establish a theocracy. “My jihad is better than your jihad!”

    How about no jihad? A diversity of beliefs is not a culture war, it is American culture.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Don,

      You fail to see the Progressive Jihad that has been raging for nearly 100 years. See my comment below: progressives/gun-grabbers reject the humanity of people who think, believe, speak, and/or act differently from them and have been actively enlisting government to suppress dissension or even downright eliminate dissenters ever since.

      In practice “diversity” doesn’t stand for diversity at all. Rather, it means upholding Progressives and their values and eliminating “wrong” beliefs, thoughts, values, religions, speech, behavior, etc. — with violent government force if necessary.

      Please, be very clear which “diversity” you support when conversing with others.

      1. avatar Don says:

        I think I clearly stated “a diversity of beliefs”. Which is the opposite of trying to dominate with a particular set of beliefs by eliminating others. If you fight jihads with jihads all you have are more jihads. Oh, the liberals jihad on me, well double-dog-jihad on you! I don’t care what the jihad is, christian, liberal, islamic. They are all fundamentally anti-American because they are all fundamentally fighting for a reduction in the beliefs you are “allowed” to have.

  32. avatar Kyle says:

    Agree that the NRA should stick to gun rights. I am a center right conservative. You might even call me a right wing social democrat. I am not Christian, or religious period. I am very much a strong supporter of the RKBA though.

  33. avatar Ralph says:

    So you don’t think that the NRA should get involved with Obamacare? Man, you are so wrong.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/01/09/this-is-how-a-secret-gun-provision-made-its-way-into-obamacare-legislation/

    1. avatar Kendahl says:

      So, object to the secret gun provision. Limit Obamacare to paying for medical treatment and let it succeed or fail on its own merits.

    2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Now that’s an excellent point that would’ve been useful to mention in a video put out by the NRA, no?

      YOU’VE just convinced me on that side point, Ralph. As to the ineffectiveness of the above video, however, I stand by what I wrote above.

      As an aside — Dana Loesch put out another video around the same time, on a similar topic from The Dana Show. I thought this one was much better — in fact, in my opinion, she does much better at both defending the NRA from an unjustified attack from the left AND making her other points. She’s much more raw here, obviously unscripted…but she also comes across as much more sincere and much more effective because of it — in my opinion:

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/12/16/dana-loesch-explodes-on-godless-left-in-furious-rant-i-do-have-a-problemand-im-not-watching-my-language/

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        I watched that video–I haven’t (yet) watched the one you originally wrote about.

        Ironically, it’s not *really* a rant about godlessness, it’s a rant about the left trying to deflect attention by bitching about prayer rather than doing something constructive about the problems (which would involve them reversing course). Once she got going not ONE complaint was about the left’s “Godlessness” but rather specific things that they have done.

        1. avatar SteveInCO says:

          And (to speak to your larger point), THAT forum was the right place for THAT video.

  34. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    Disagree. While I’m not looking for the NRA to become an all encompassing organization addressing every governmental overreach, the fact remains that no issue, none, more directly and succinctly reflects the nature of the relationship between Individual and State than firearms freedom. It’s the distilled application of virtually every other issue. The NRA cannot tackle each and every issue out there, of course, but the primary issues of the day which do have monumental impact on firearms freedom? Yes.

    We’re always talking about changing informing “fence sitters” and changing the minds of “Fudds” as a means of extending our reach and expanding freedom. Meanwhile, the liberals aren’t changing voters’ minds. They’re just changing the voters, by importing by the container and trainload every illiterate, unskilled peasant from every freedom barren, corruption drenched hellhole in the world. These huddled masses are only yearning to live for free on U.S. welfare roles, without assimilating, without contributing, without a care that they’re destroying our country by auto-voting for Democrats who are champing at the bit to steal your guns.

    Same with Obamacare. You have a vast government bureaucracy controlling your healthcare and trolling your health records, searching for any stretched clue or stray comment that you own guns and have ever experienced so much as a moment of other than a purely charmed existence. Well, that must mean you’re about to climb the clock tower! Take his guns!!!

    Same with the so-called No Fly and Terrorist Watch lists serving as basis for background check denials. Unseen lists written by unaccountable bureaucrats per unknown criteria are soon to be the basis for denying you your most sacred freedom: your right to defend yourself. If that’s not a wholesale rewriting of the Constitution and erasure of the Second Amendment, then I don’t know what is.

    Yes, I get it that mission creep’s siren song has its own station on Pandora and resisting the urge to spread themselves too thinly and dilute their pro-2A brand is a serious challenge for the NRA. Still, only existence precedes essence. Granted, the NRA is essentially a pro-2A civil rights and firearms training/safety organization. However, both the NRA and the USA’s existence are threatened by these and other major cultural and political forces. If the NRA goes radio silent on these issues and does not even draw its members attention to their vital linkage to firearms freedoms, then the NRA risks losing its existence, making its essential mission moot.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      “If the NRA goes radio silent on these issues and does not even draw its members attention to their vital linkage to firearms freedoms…”

      Do you think that the portion of the NRA membership that’s receptive to this kind of angry rant is really unaware of these issues? It’s just preaching to the choir, at the expense of muddying the waters and diluting the NRA’s core message.

      1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        Yes, yes I do. By the way, I consider her video an impassioned plea, not an angry rant.

        Nevertheless, consider it a sermon, if you will, and preaching to the choir. Just know, to continue the analogy, that not all church attendees choir members. Not all attendees on a given day attend every week. Many are new and receptive.

        After all, didn’t the NRA membership surge from four to five million people during the government’s 2013 gun grab attempt? And that’s just the paid membership. How many millions more then and since have visited the NRA’s sites seeking information? Plenty, I’m sure.

        I’m just as sure that they’re not all already heavily steeped in the minutiae of firearms politics. They’re motivated to learn, though, and receptive to the message.

  35. avatar Bud Harton says:

    I absolutely agree with Dana Loesch.

    I am a Christian and I do believe the assault on my 1st and 2nd Amendment guarantee of my God given rights are one and the same.

    I am no longer a supporter of anything diversive and that is as a result of the unceasing attack on me as a Christian and a gun owner. The attacks are not coming from the conservative right.

    They are coming from the Godless left.

    To attempt to separate the two issues as being separate and distinct is naive at best.

    I have noticed that I no longer have anything to do with my former friends who are staunchly Democratic. They, and the media that they support have driven a huge wedge between us.

    The only thing I wonder about is if I will still be alive (because of my age) when the shooting starts because I really believe that is where we are headed.

  36. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Mrs. Loesch’s video highlights how countless people respond to attacks on our right to keep and bear arms: they go off on all kinds of tangents and fail to go right back at the accuser with the most basic and simple argument.

    It really boils down to this: gun-grabbers view people who are “different” as not worthy of life on Earth. “Different” people have no right to life (self-defense), liberty, property, self-determination, religion, beliefs, free speech, due process, privacy, you name it.

    Most gun grabbers veil their attacks behind countless distractions. They make statements about suicide rates, firearm design, parental negligence, violent crime rates, “civilized” society, “needs”, mortality rates, injury rates, etc. Rather than debate the veracity of their data or assertion, we should come back with the same simple response: (a) What depravity has led you (gun-grabber) to condemn and inflict harm (either personally or via government proxy) on people who think, believe, and act differently than you?
    (b) Who in the Hell are you to tell me if/when/how I can defend myself and my family’s lives?

  37. avatar Ross says:

    Personally I don’t have an issue with anything Dana said.

  38. avatar Dave says:

    I think it’s being taken out if context. They’re attacking the New York Daily News for criticizing conservative republicans for praying for senators. NYDN criticized prayer and then mentioned gun control as the solution.

    The other issue was the double standard of coddling Muslims while criticizing Christians.

    However, I do agree that Dana should have voiced these opinions on her own, without representing the NRA in the process. Although I agree with her opinions, less religious people might not, and I personally want every gun owner to be an NRA member, regardless of religion or lack thereof.

    On a side note, gun rights should be even more important to atheists, who don’t believe in an afterlife. If one believes he only lives once, and guns help prolong his life and preserve his freedom, then he should do what he can to protect his gun rights. In other words, YOLO, as kids are saying these days.

  39. avatar Kendahl says:

    Agreed. Whoever approved this for the NRA needs to find a new employer. There should be only three criteria of interest to the NRA:
    (1) Are you interested in guns?
    (2) Do you support the right of private citizens to own and use guns?
    (3) Do you renounce violence in any form except in self defense?

    This site has a series “Should Have Been a DGU.” The victims in such incidents are the people we should be trying to reach. POTG should make common cause with everyone unjustly victimized due to prejudice. Our message to them needs to be, “You shouldn’t have to tolerate this. A gun will enable you to protect yourself.”

  40. avatar Another Robert says:

    Let me just interrupt a bit to say, considering the subject matter, we’ve got a pretty high level of discourse going on here. Congrats to all involved, I say, FWIW.

  41. avatar Erik says:

    It’s articles like this that keep me coming back to TTAG despite the fact that I disagree with most of the political stuff that gets posted here. It’s videos like this that keep a liberal Jedi like me from having any interest in joining the NRA. Great job, Mr. Paulsen.

  42. avatar Gregolas says:

    In my view, Dana was merely responding to the NY Daily News’ attempt to insert religion into the conversation.
    Gun grabbers in Christian and Jewish circles unabashedly promote pacifism to their congregations as being Scripturally based and morally superior (which they are not), and have thrown their moral, political and monetary weight into the argument for decades. Implicit in the appeal of the left is that their take on things (socialism) is inherently more moral than the capitalist, “selfish” right. This attitudes includes guns. “Why don’t you care about dead children?”
    It is they who opened this front in the war of ideas. It is incumbent to our defense and offense that we answer it. Of course discussion on this topic is not everyone’s hobby, but since their still millions of Americans who think in these terms, let Dana and those of us who choose to fight on this ground to try to win the hearts and minds of those on the fence of the gun/morality/religion issue.

  43. avatar H says:

    If multicultural doesn’t make you stronger then what is the United States? British?
    Many people of European descent consider themselves Americans. Yet they have experienced cultural or nationalist prejudice manifested through restrictions in housing education and employment.

    The phrases, “dirty, ignorant, stick to themselves, lacking morals, promiscuous, lazy, coming to take our jobs, desire to live off the state, will outbreed us” have been used toward Germans, Poles, Italians, Eastern Europeans, Irish, & Scots. All white. Then it was used against distinct groups of Protestants and of course Catholics.

    History shows that the powers that be divide and conquer. We the sheeple don’t know our history and believe this stuff. They keep the people sedated with benefits and tell them the blame is another group. How did a Mexican take your job? The man a white man who owned the company laid you off and hired the Mexican for less money. Did you complain? Did you mobilize? A white man moved your manufacturing job off shore. Not the Asian who assembles your goods. Stop buying from Walmart etc. But No. The prices are so good….

    Your culture is your religion and your arts and history. You don’t have to exclude others to keep yours. No one is protesting to close “little Italy” in your town. Why? We love it. We have an American culture that includes all peoples. That is what makes us great.

  44. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    +1 Chip-and Bud Harton. I agree with her. And I seem to remember saying I would look with askance at J. Paulson posts after the ACLU confession. If it teeters on ad hom go ahead and delete. I see we have a storm front boy here today…

  45. avatar JohnnyDerp says:

    Firing up the GOP base won’t be enough. We need to bring in the Libertarian and Independent atheist and agnostic citizens who believe in one very important thing: The right of self defense, the right to choose a just government at the ballot box, and when the ballot box is cheated, achieve that just government by any means necessary

    If you can’t defend your life and your liberty, you are a slave

  46. avatar T says:

    100% agree with article. I’m an industry guy and attend a ton of firearm venue events every year. I am extremely uncomfortable with the mixing of religion and non-firearm politics into the mix, especially at these events. I have my own, personal relationship with God and do not need to parade it in front of the world as proof that I am worthy of mixing with this crowd. In fact, I tend to question the authenticity of those who do.I have gay gun-owning friends. Black gun-owning friends. Female gun-owning friends. I even know Democrats with guns that think their side needs to stop bundling and stay out of the gun regulation business. I’m a Libertarian, saddled with the rhetoric of the far right since that seems to be the only way I can support my primary political focus on the 2A. I don’t care who worships who or how, or if they even worship at all. Godless is just fine so long as they are cool with the Constitution and my guns. I don’t listen to country music, don’t watch NASCAR, or any other sports for that matter. And don’t even get me going on Nugent. Yet the NRA promotes this image relentlessly. Stick to the guns, NRA. It’s what I pay you to do.

  47. avatar glenux says:

    Johannes Paulsen,
    I would agree with you that the NRA has not associated with any causes or principles other than Gun Rights and Gun Safety.
    But this country is essentially in a state of war.
    A war of cultures.
    You do not strike at an enemy in just one sensitive spot.
    If you want to defeat you opponent, you have to hit them in EVERY vital spot.

    When have you ever scene a Boxing Fight were a boxer used one arm to hit his opponent in just one place?
    Never.
    Boxers use various combinations of jabs and punches to hit their opponent to bring him down.
    The NRA’s opponent (the godless left) has weaknesses besides being insane.
    The NRA’s opponent is not monolithic.

    This video is an attempt to draw the ire of its viewers and its members to remind them who we are really fighting against.

    I don’t have a problem with atheists even though atheists don’t believe in
    “God-given” rights.
    There are some who believe in Natural Rights.

    I don’t have a particular problem with people of other religions.
    But I do have a problem with people of other ideologies or religions who want to restrict my fundamental rights,
    my right to life,
    my right to protect my life,
    my right to express my religion (or lack of it) as I see fit,
    my right to free speech, etc.
    And anybody who attempts to take away my rights should have
    to live in utter fear for their life.
    The NRA’s opponent is my opponent.

  48. avatar Kenshinwulf says:

    I will be the minority here…. but, she’s right.

    Her anger mirrors my own.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      It’s not a question of whether you agree with her or not. You’re probably not even in the minority here; a majority of TTAGers probably think she’s right on most of her rant. The question is, is this sort of thing a smart tactic for the NRA?

      I think, long-term, dragging along a bunch of non-gun issues is going to be a loser for the NRA. They should maintain a laser-like focus on gun rights and gun safety, and reach out to anyone who’s receptive to that message. Leave the side issues alone, because the more crap you stack onto your platform, the fewer people you’re going to find who agree with all of it.

  49. avatar Steve says:

    She has a right to say anything she wants. I wore the uniform of my country for 22 years so that people could say what they want, even if i don’t agree with them. The problem here for me is that in coupling religion to the Second Amendment fight, the NRA is in danger of becoming a political party and since I’m and atheist, I can’t really support that party

  50. avatar Steve says:

    The NRA should focus on the 2nd Amendment and leave the religious pulpit to the political parties. Unless, of course the NRA is trying to become a political party.

  51. avatar 4thestars says:

    Cultural bundling… I like that phrasing.

    Mixing religion into such articles and videos renders them nearly useless as tools for reaching potential voters beyond the confines of the religious right. We need as many of these voters as we can get to vote in favor of preserving and restoring our Constitutional Rights.

  52. avatar Ironbear says:

    If I give my money to the NRA in the form of membership dues and/or donations, I want it to go almost exclusively to fighting against gun laws, promoting gun owner rights, and funding legal actions to repeal existing gun laws. The “almost” in that covers firearms training and firearms safety training and the other traditional NRA programs.

    If they’re not going to use it for that, if they’re going to use it for 101 tangential causes that are only peripherally connected if at all to gun rights, then, well…

    I’m pretty sure that Gun Owners of America will be quite happy to take my money and put it to better use. So will the Pink Pistols, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, and any number of other gun rights organizations.

    It’s called voting with my wallet.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      >> If I give my money to the NRA in the form of membership dues and/or donations, I want it to go almost exclusively to fighting against gun laws, promoting gun owner rights, and funding legal actions to repeal existing gun laws.

      That’s precisely the reason why I donate to SAF instead, which actually guarantees this, and doesn’t present itself as partisan (which NRA didn’t use to do until recently, but by now it’s in full-blown suck-it-to-the-GOP mode).

  53. avatar Gary says:

    Fascinatingly, I find the conclusion of this article to be more applicable to TTAG than the NRA. The NRA has an arm that is designed to lobby. It often misses the mark, but it does more good than harm.

    TTAG is just better when it sticks to guns.

    Gary Walters
    GunIQ LLC

  54. avatar moderaterecoil says:

    Completely agree with the article. Embarrassing video. I didn’t affiliate myself with the NRA to fight culture wars.

  55. avatar Wiregrass says:

    I do agree the NRA should stick to gun rights, that being said, I believe our gun rights are not solely limited to second amendment issues. As we have seen recently, threats to gun rights also involve 1st, 4th and 5th amendment protections, so I believe a broader focus on the Bill of Rights is warranted. Support the politicians that support our gun rights, but let them find other groups to support the rest of their agenda. I think some of them would sell us out in a heart beat for votes on their pet causes.

  56. avatar CLarson says:

    I am pro-gun rights and happen to be agnostic and libertarian and don’t need to be pandered to. Politics is a numbers game. There are a heck of a lot more Christians than atheists in America, and with Team Blue monolithically against gun rights and Team Red mostly pro gun rights, it is totally obvious why the NRA leans Team Red, its simple market forces. You go after the people who are buying what you are selling. You can find lots of libertarian pro gun rights videos on libertarian websites like Reason.com where the most of the readership is libertarian.

  57. avatar Preston B. says:

    This stance against Atheists, and the assumption that the majority of colored people are thugs (code for ni**ers), are the biggest reasons I’m diassociating myself with the NRA, and those in their ranks with these views. There are plenty of better organizations that could use my money, stick to gun issues, and won’t compromise, as the NRA loves to do.

    1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      This stance against Atheists…

      The video is not a “stance against atheists.”

      You should probably actually watch the video before commenting on it. But that’s just me.

    2. Show me one video, one statement, one example of anyone even remotely associated with the NRA suggesting that all “colored people” (who says that?) are thugs.
      And if thug is code for nigger then why not just say nigger? I mean, all you idiots are saying thug means nigger so you can’t possibly be any more offended. Unless, of course, you are lying, and I believe you are.

      1. I meant to say majority instead of all.

  58. avatar joninva says:

    I like many didn’t find this video to be of any service to those of us who support the 2A. In fact it puts the NRA in the business of religious commentary and that is NOT what the NRA is about. The quickest way to turn potential supporters and current supporters of the NRA away is to start delving into issues that have nothing to do with defending the rights of gun owners in America or supporting the shooting sports or gun safety training. I do hope that the NRA and those there who thought it was a good idea to show that video on the NRA channel go back to whatever it was they did before they came up with this not-so good idea. The NRA is good at one thing and needs to stay on point or risk losing everything we have worked so hard to preserve.

  59. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Well, I hate to accuse the NRA of competence in advocacy (almost at much as it’s a mistake to ever think that of The Stupid Party) BUT … this ain’t bad positioning as a one-off. For exactly the reasons given above: side issues.

    The anti-gun folks will never be flipped, so you lose nothing. Gaggles of sorta, kinda pro-gun-ish folks don’t see some “minor” “incremental” gun control as a big deal … until it’s connected to their pet single issue: god, school, cronyism, family, whatever.

    So as a tactic, if you make your whole “citizen gun ownership” campaign like this you just muddy the issue. Do it once, you “tie” pro-gun to those other issues, as one more incremental step toward, oh, I don’t know, federally regulating shower heads and toilet tanks (Oh, wait, they did that. Nevermind.) A few folks who are pro old-fashioned lightbulbs will see gun-regulation as tied to their issue … and cry “stop” to gun grabbing as a political bulwark protecting their issue.

    Really it’s a problem for an agenda across a broad front. Tie one part of the agenda to another and you hope you get backers of B, also pushing for A. Unfortunately, you also get opponents of B, pushing against A. The question is who is more mobilized. Usually, it’s the people who think they’re going to have something taken away.

    So, done once, as a kind of outreach, this isn’t a bad bit of messaging, or even a limited campaign, focused on people who are strong on the related issues.

    Let us remember, that while The Iron Lady of the UK said: “First you win the argument, then you win the election.” you have to win the election. The election counts up how many people cast votes the way you want, or not – not why they did it. Someone who votes against a gun-grabber because they think school lunches are their business counts just as much as the vote “for” from most articulate advocate of natural rights and classical liberalism.

  60. avatar Bohucka says:

    I don’t have much of an issue with what Dana says, but I do find it difficult to maintain eye contact with her in that video 😉

  61. avatar Gearmoe says:

    I expect there is analytic study on the differing ads and suggest they will gear future ads to what is popular.

  62. avatar JackieO says:

    ” Absolutely godamned right. Never get out of the f#*&ing boat”.

  63. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    The gun issues are going to get bundled with other issues. The Terror Watch List and No Fly Issues are primary examples.
    I think the real question that both the NRA and ACLU need to bring up is if individual liberty triumphs that of supreme state power, or is the individual to be sacrificed as a disposable pawn in the service of the state.

  64. avatar T M says:

    Thank you for this. Look, I am a left-libertarian, atheist, pro-choice, card carrying member of the ACLU, in a polyamorous household with two socialist partners, and regularly get called a ‘social justice warrior’ for my decidedly feminist stances on many social issues. Most of my good friends aren’t straight and quite a few are further to the left of me and yet, they are also very pro-RKBA. All that aside, I’m also a lifetime NRA member, have multiple ‘scary assault rifles’, and daily carry. I’m also active duty Navy on top of it all.

    When the NRA culture bundles like this, or when there are commentators in 95% of the gun forums I follow talking about violently ‘taking the country back’ from us ‘evil, godless liberals’, then it gets really, really hard to convince my on-the-fence liberal friends why arming the country is such a good idea. I hate pulling the ‘get a gun, because the crazy white rednecks want a civil war so they can shoot you for being queer’ (hyperbole…sorta) card, but there’s time where that almost seems like the argument to make to them when you have people stating just that on gun fourms. When I agree with a candidate on everything else, except their position on guns, it puts a lot of us in a tough spot. White Conservative Christians and Right-Wing Libertarian DudeBros aren’t the only ones out there who are people of the gun.

    If you want the RKBA to survive this century, the cultural bundling has to stop.

  65. avatar Rikoshay says:

    Has any of you seen the clip Alex Jones did? This was puppies and kittens compared. To use John Melencamp’s line “You got to stand for something or you’re gonna fall for anything”.

  66. avatar Jack N says:

    The key thing is: Q. Imagine that we wanted to have a productive conversation. Imagine that we wanted to identify our irreducible philosophical and practical differences, seek areas of agreement and change some minds. What might we do?

    A. First, we could stop culture-bundling. We culture-bundle when we use one political issue as shorthand for a big group of cultural and social values.

    Beyond that, it’s still true that I generally agree with conservative principles but always find a few good ideas (allegedly) “owned” by liberals. We have to deny both parties the “right” to claim ideas as theirs and theirs alone. NONE of the ideas promoted by either party really came from EITHER party. Added disclaimer: I think many agree that the way both parties implement their ideas has a lot to be desired. This faulty implementation might be called “agenda bundling” where the ultimate goal is to achieve something other than the good idea.

    Whatever: the NRA made a tactical mistake with probable consequences they did not see coming. I agree with the basic complaint about this particular NRA video. I’d bet it really expresses the attitude of the leaders of the NRA who, generally, seem impervious to even the most willing and honest input from outside their own circle.

  67. avatar Tim says:

    Your comments are spot on. I’m a gay Progressive urban dweller who is on board with reasonable expressions of RKBA. I approach the subject with a firm understanding that the urban and rural perspective on firearms are at odds. Having a gun cabinet full of ARs and AKs is perfectly appropriate when your closest neighbor is 5 miles down the road. It is suspect though in a major metropolitan area where the only people openly brandishing such armament are unsavory and a menace to society. I believe in the RKBA but also believe that it is not an absolute right to own anything with a barrel. Reasonable limitations are entirely appropriate. In other words there is room for people to come together and develop a workable framework of policies that actually accomplish something and are not just nonsensical knee jerk reactions.

    Try though and log onto some of the biggest RKBA sites or Anti-gun forums with those views for the simple purpose of respectfully establishing a dialog and you’ll be lucky to last longer than a day or two before getting banned. Both sides consider any variance from the prevailing echo chamber as “trolling”. How I learned to hate that word and the pea-brained people that trot it out for any beliefs different than their own.

    The vast majority of citizens out there that simply want to do what is best for our country in balancing individual rights with the needs of society in general develop an attitude of a pox upon both your houses.

  68. avatar JW says:

    I am a left-libertarian atheist gun nut and an NRA life member. The NRA should stick to 2nd amendment rights, period. I am happy to make common cause with Ms. Loesch on our right to bear arms, but when she is speaking for the NRA she should leave her other issues out of it. I say this not because I’m personally offended by anything she has to say (I have a thicker skin than that) but because those of us who support the right to keep and bear arms need to stand together to defend that right whatever our other beliefs may be. Keeping the NRA message focused like a laser on RKBA issues is the only to stay united and effective for the long term.

  69. avatar HP says:

    I’m an atheist. I’m also pro-gay marriage, and even (somewhat) pro-choice. However, the second amendment trumps (no pun intended) all of that for me. So when I see a video like this, I’m sort of indifferent. People can squabble about the role of religion all they’d like. Just leave my guns alone. I’m a life member of the NRA and am happy with the organization, but I do agree they should remain a single issue organization. Because while I’m able to shake off any social conservatism they inject into their videos, others may not be so willing to do so, and the NRA risks losing them.

    NRA, if you’re reading this, STICK TO GUNS.

  70. avatar BDub says:

    I was about to ask if PoeHat had commissioned the NRA to make a video that clearly demonstrated the concept of “cultural bundling” – if they had, I would call it mission accomplished.

  71. avatar Will says:

    I could not agree more. NRA really needs to lose all the associations with Nashville, Jesus and NASCAR if it wants to expand its appeal beyond OFWG’s.

  72. avatar arrowfoxtrot says:

    This article is spot on.

  73. avatar John says:

    NRA is a traitorous organization who’s only interest is continued employment. Look at the people they hire and pay. NRA contract lobbyist for IL Donald Todd Vandermyde put Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties in Rep. Brandon Phelps HB183 “NRA backed” carry bill after cutting a deal with the anti-gun Chiefs of Police. When armed citizens are set up and killed by police criminals and police impersonators, Vandermyde will have job security to “fix” his own crap bill.

    Vandermyde worked for William Dugan at the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers local 150 in Countryside, IL, before Dugan was convicted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 2010. Have Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham ever done a background check on Vandermyde for criminal associations? Have they ever once set foot in IL to see what Vandermyde is doing?

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