The NRA is a force to be reckoned with. It is not, however, light on its feet. If a firearms-related story breaks, TTAG and an army of bloggers are on it like a modelizer clocking Helen Svedin at Starbucks. The NRA is at least two days behind the curve. After Newtown, an entire week elapsed before they said boo to the goose. Where are the SAF and GOA-like press releases responding to gun ban bills within hours of all the 2A affronts making the news? Where are the hard-hitting NRA ads defending Americans’ Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, as above? They’ve got a few. But then again, too few to mention. I reckon the NRA’s a victim of its own success. The gun rights org’s healthy bank account and endless brand extensions (NRA wine club?) have created a bloated bureaucracy. Given their relative sloth, what should the NRA do with itself in these dark days of civilian disarmament?

 

Recommended For You

66 Responses to Question of the Day: Should the NRA Stick to Lobbying?

  1. They let me know about the wine club in the packet I got for joining. The Absurdity was strong with this one.

    • I agree that the whole wine club idea seems dumb…. but… it was a big hit with my wife who cares nothing for guns!!!

      It is good that the NRA has a few things to offer for family members who might not be so into guns.

  2. Well, at least they shouldn’t run ads like that one. There were racist motivations behind some early gun-control laws, but that is not true today. Unfounded accusations of racism are one of the more tiresome aspects of American political discourse, so let’s leave them to the left where they belong.

    • Yes… because an entire group of people who were enslaved for generations in this nation, treated no better (and oftentimes worse…) than cattle and sheep and actually bred like farm animals, who were kept disarmed through the force of the law for centuries, who were lynched after being freed if they so much as looked at the wrong woman sometimes, had fire hoses shot at them and had police dogs unleashed upon them for trying to simply go to school, who were prevented from attaining better paying jobs, who were prevented from using the same drinking fountains and bathrooms, who had laws preventing them from defending themselves even, shouldn’t be reminded that the current crop of disarmament laws will hurt them disproportionately, and that those same laws have their roots in the numerous racists laws of this nation’s past.

      Can’t tell those people that they got the short end of the turd, and now those in charge are planning on polishing their end of the turd for them to grip even harder…

      • We also can’t tell them that the Democratic Party was founded in 1857 with the Express purpose of expanding slavery across the US Territorys and that They started the Civil War to Preserve Slavery and it is the Democrats that have enslaved black americans again by turning them into sheeple

        • The Democratic party of today has exactly as much with Dems of Civil War era as Republicans of today have to do with Abraham Lincoln, as anyone with even a cursory knowledge of American history is well aware. Take your flamebait elsewhere.

    • yes and no… many would say the same about guns and resistance to government tyranny… doesn’t make it any less relevant

    • I disagree. We need to put it out there that the first step to enslaving someone is to disarm them.

      When I train people at my range, if always give pro-gun speech at the end, that includes the notions that the disarmament leads to enslavement. It is usually a pretty big hit with black people who to shoot. Most of them already know… but are happy to hear it all the same.

    • “There were racist motivations behind some early gun-control laws, but that is not true today.”

      really? According to one study on gun crime:

      Compared to the full population of gun buyers, however, those who purchased guns that were later recovered by police were more likely to be female (14.8% for crime gun buyers versus 9.7% for all gun buyers), black (61.7% for crime gun buyers versus 17% for all buyers), in their twenties (49% for crime gun buyers versus 24.6% for all buyers), and to have made prior purchases of crime guns (2.8% for crime gun buyers versus 1% for all buyers).

      https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/221074.pdf

      So, O’Malley wants to fingerprint all handgun buyers. Let me ask you: when you think of going to the state troopers to get fingerprinted what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

      the chair of the MD senate judiciary committee Frosh says not to worry because 50% of Marylanders already get fingerprinted for their jobs anyway.

      This law might not be overtly racist, but I would argue that at least implicitly, the message paints a clear picture of who the criminal is likely to be.

      (I personally find the actual ad distasteful, btw – but clearly they need to find a message that resonates if not this one.
      maybe this one:

      ).

  3. They should start by signing Helen(I know I would). & then get their ass in gear & do some saturization promotions on the various media, like a pop up ad on….wait for it…TTAG, thats what we need, Randy

    • “Saturation ads”? They don’t have the money. They spent it on executive salary’s

      Do you know what happened there? My spell check REJECTED both “salaries” and “salerys”, only one of which is correct, in favor of the IDIOTIC NON-WORD, “salary’s” UGH.

      Anyway, for the past 25 years or more, the NRA has been a bunch of non-strategic, miserable collaborators. I wouldn’t pee on them if their heart was on fire.

      • Spent it on executive salaries my ass. Wayne LaPierre makes about 1/5th of what someone in his position would make if he worked for one of the private DC lobbying firms instead of working for a non-profit like NRA.

        I bet you think that GOA is an effective organization, too. You want to talk about an org that spends most of its money on salaries?

      • The NRA’s first mission, middle mission and LAST mission is REVENUE. Wasted on stupid stuff like the Whittington Center (named after the guy Cheney deliberately shot in the face), and executive salaries. And a billion-dollar HQ.

    • Save your money and invest in ammo, instead. For truly, will the SAF send people to defend you if needed, or does that fall on your own head to do?

      The SAF is making headway, but…they’re distant and not local. *shrugs* I prefer that which I can relate to daily, in person, and knowing they have my back if I really need it. The SAF doesn’t fulfill that.

      But, hey, go with what you know. 😉

        • I don’t care what Gura is personally a fan of, so long as he keeps promoting a broad interpretation of the 2nd Amendment in his professional capacity as a lawyer – which is exactly what he is doing.

  4. Ah yes, the NRA.

    The bane of the anti-gunners is when they presume that as a 2nd Amendment supporter, I am automatically a member of “the evil NRA, what with their loosely-clouded raaaacism and hatred of urbanites!” Yikes.

    I like the NRA. But I’m not a member. Free duffel bags and wine clubs? Um…okay, sure, I suppose. Not my thing. But if it floats your boat, then go with what you know.

    The NRA does not fully speak for the whole of the American gun-owning populace. Perhaps they wish they did. Perhaps they don’t care other than to get more members for their fees. I couldn’t say. I have no animosity for the NRA, like many non-member gun owners, but sometimes they do seem more like a money-grabbing club than anything else.

    My 2 cents.

    • I don’t like the hats, magazines and incessant mail so I give to them every time I shop at a site that has the NRA roundup, which is about every month.

  5. Sad truth is, money and influence run Washingtion, not rights and rule of law. SAF has proved they have the legal chops to fight the legal fights, gun blogs quickly inform 2A defenders on things they can rally for or against. Let the NRA stay a lobbying firm…as long as they remain staunchly 2A and not turn Fudd (again). They have the vote influence to sway the vulnerable and wishy-washy. It’s filthy business, but without it we’d be in a lot worse shape than we are now.

  6. stick to lobbying – absolutely not. maybe that was a good strategy in the 90s when there was no social media or huffington post. every day nocera or slate put up another “gun death” and the same zombie statistics keep getting repeated. These days, politicians get emails from constituents (MD legislators got over 1 million). The NRA needs to be more media savvy, and frankly needs to be more aware of the need to broaden its own demographic base – which cannot be done merely through lobbying. Bloomberg put over 250 million dollars into Hopkins, and $2 million into ads in a Chicago race (I heard the NRA renamed a NASCAR race in TX). Social media messaging which generate effective emails to legislators change minds. And: a lot of the gun control advocacy stems from the cities which have real violence problems. Reaching out to inner city residents – especially in an era of budget cuts – is a good way to broaden the demographic and undercut the civilian disarmament leaders. No, thats not going to be easy to change minds in Chicago and Baltimore, but it needs to be done.

  7. NRA’s got “name recognition”. They catch a lot of hate from both sides because they’re a big target. I believe they should collaborate with other firearms groups to minimize redundancy and take advantage of the individual strengths of each organization. When confronting an enemy, infantry, armor, cavalry/air support and other elements have different characteristics which achieve a greater impact from working together.

  8. I think they, and all of us individually, need to focus on making guns and all the culture surrounding guns, less taboo

  9. Nah, the NRA can’t stick to lobbying. It also needs to fund pro-2A candidates, handle PR and support litigation whenever it can. And that’s just the political side. There’s a lot to do, and fewer resources than you might think. The NRA has less than 5 million members, while the Federal goverment owns us and all our money, too. It’s kind of an uneven playing field.

    The NRA sunk about $15 million cash into the anti-Obama campaign alone. Which is why the Democrats are going b@lls-out now — they have to crush 2A before the NRA reloads its coffers.

    And for those who are busy hating on the NRA (and from the comments those people put up, there isn’t anything they don’t hate), what the f^ck have you ever done for 2A? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    • Do I know you, Ralph? Why do you presume to know me? Personalities aside, these are my observations/opinions:

      The NRA is out of touch and irrelevant to the younger, diverse and increasingly urban people whose support is vital for preserving our 2A rights.

      The NRA is being out-muscled in the media by the growing chorus of anti-2A voices.

      The NRA is using outdated ROEs.

      The NRA blusters, shows up late and peddles appeasement.

      The NRA looks like a club for OFWGs.

      Go ahead, tell me how wrong I am. Please disparage me and other critics of the NRA. Just remember, perception is reality.

  10. Me thinks NRA got a considerable membership bump recently. One hopes they invest the monies wisely. This fight is burning rubber-to-the-road. Many of us are contacting our reps and telling’em HOW we vote. Please NRA… don’t F*ck it up. Trim the fat and dig heels. OR die.

    THIS is not a drill.

  11. I don’t necessarily think it was dumb of them to wait 5 days to let the emotion of Newtown die down before issuing a statement. I know a lot of you disagree, but that seems like a sound tactical move to me. They knew people would react emotionally at first and anyone saying anything other than “what a tragedy” was going to exacerbate the situation. Instead, they waited for the political left to overreach – by proposing a bunch of laws the majority of citizens oppose – THEN they jumped into the debate. And they did it in the right way, by proposing practical solutions and pointing out the gun grabbers had spent the last week using dead children as props for their own political ends. They highlighted that the anti-2A crowd were proposing “solutions” that restricted the rights of the majority without doing anything to address the causes of the shooting.

    They knew their opponent, and they let their opponent set the stage for their defeat. And they did it in a way that didn’t exhaust their political capital. I dunno about you guys, but from where I’m sitting that all seems pretty smart.

    • You are correct. An since the organization has largely extended the middle finger of friendship to the leftist wackos. To my observation they have learned much since the early 90s when they “played the game” and negotiated with and compromised with the same leftist loons (Schumer, Reid, Harkin, Kennedy (may he rot in cold dark water) etc. Whatever LaPierre is paid if OK with me he has the experience needed right now.

      You got an opinion right now is the voing for the NRA board. If you have all the answers stop whining here and do something. Works the same as local gov’t stepping up to the plate and raising your hand (or voice).

    • If only the media left Sandy Hook alone for five days… Thanks to the 24/7 media cluster fvck, there are still people convinced that there were two shooters and an AR-15 in the trunk of the car…

    • I rag on the NRA’s missteps pretty regularly but I agree with them in this case. There wasn’t a non-inflammatory, counter productive way for them to do anything sooner.

  12. Like it or not the NRA is a force to be reckoned with.
    We may not agree with everything they do, but then
    again how many other pro-2A organizations can
    go toe-to-tie with Congress or the Senate. That said
    I always thought they should be far more proactive
    in the PR department. Hiring Mr. Colin Noir was
    definitely a step in the right direction. Now give him
    carte blanche to run tv and web ads and the support
    to do it. A weekly web address would be a good start.

  13. One of the best way to judge how effective an Pro-Gun Rights group is… is to listen to the Ant-Gun groups talk. Who do they hate the most?

    Who does Obama hate ? The NRA
    Who does Finestein Hate? The NRA
    Who does Schumer Hate? The NRA
    Who does Bloomberg Hate? The NRA

    There is 4 good reasons right there to support the NRA.

  14. All the Democrats have is emotion and they’re playing it well. The NRA needs to counter with an absolute BLIZZARD of facts. You will not win the emotional argument because most of the gun control movement doesn’t own guns, doesn’t like guns, and only bothers to notice when there is a tragedy. The gun control movement has the media and the message pours forth constantly, even when it’s illogical, factually incorrect, and hypocritical. An occasional ad here or there is not going to cut it. The NRA, and really the Republican party, as well, just haven’t exhibited the media-mojo to the degree that the gun control movement and Bloomberg have.

  15. The NRA should take a page from large companies and establish internal but semi-independent groups to focus on discrete issues and red teaming. The NRA has a bad habit of preaching only to the choir and will need to expand its appeal in the future to non-traditional constituencies. Internal innovation teams can help with that.

    • +1 on the NRA preaching to the choir. They need to expand their message.

      The trick is that gun control advocates don’t feel like they’re losing anything. They don’t view 2nd Amendment rights in the same vein as they do, say, the 1st or Roe v. Wade. For them to ban this, restrict that, register whatever, really has no impact on them directly. We get fed up because their policies not only infringe civil rights, but impact our property and wallets directly. We definitely feel a “loss” to a degree no gun control advocate ever will. So what message would make gun control advocates think twice (probably not many) or reach the millions of folks who don’t own guns who could usually care less about it either way?

      • We need to change the marketing to suit the audience. I have found that analogizing to the rush to do something in the wake of 9/11 that lead to the Patriot Act resonates with lots of neutral to slight-anti folks. It doesn’t turn them into TTAG readers, but it does get them to think twice.

        Likewise, people who live in good neighborhoods think they are safe and that the cops can protect them, so arguments based on their personal safety are often of limited use, but point out that some of the largest growing groups of CCW holders are people in bad neighborhoods and they start to understand why guns are necessary for protection.

        Same with the anti-tyranny argument. Casting the 2A in terms of Lexington and Concord may not resonate with folks, but talking about how civil rights leaders had guns to protect themselves from the night riders because they knew the police wouldn’t (and may have been involved in the attack) shows how government tyranny can take different forms and how guns can protect from it.

        I wish everyone saw the need for the 2A the way I do, but they don’t. We need to find what type of messaging works for them and use it, rather than beat our heads against a wall and wonder why we are losing.

  16. The NRA is a good organization with our best interests in mind.
    We cannot turn our back on them now. And we, as gun rights supporters, should be joining or renewing.

    It’s also a good idea to join your local gun rights organization and the SAF… as well as write and call your representatives whenever the call arises.

    This is not the time to throw our own overboard. Save that energy for the organizations that are actively pursuing making each and everyone of us a felon until we to shut up, give up, or are locked up.

  17. I think that ads like this are important, and that the NRA should do as many as they can. Lobby public perceptions, as this is where ultimately the battle will be won–people who ar convinced that gun bans are good and guns evil will always press for more regulation at every turn.Hearts and minds. Leave the rest up to the federal courts.
    Did this ad push buttons, stretch the boundary? Yes; but people considering banning guns must be aware of the uncomfortable consequences that such bans have had in the past and will have in the future. Instead of “it’s for the children,” this has to be a discussion of the consequences to each individual, what the loss of personal rights really means. People are complacent, and have become convinced that “that won’t happen to me” isn’t true.

  18. Here’s my own personal experience with the NRA’s style of lobbying.

    Year’s ago working for a national membership association, the NRA was a corporate member/partner of the committee I staffed. Nice folks…until they got up to testify. Then they changed before your eyes from a reasoned person seeking common ground into a fire-breathing demon spouting spit-laden vitriol. I’m serious…the matter before the committee was pretty vanilla and would have sailed through – until the NRA rep opened her mouth. Then it was doomed.

    Its a real shame too…the NRA of my youth (I’m 40) was a very highly regarded organization – like the Boy Scouts for adults. Eddie the Eagle, marksmanship courses, hunter safety training. Members could hold their heads up high.

    As much as we’d like to think otherwise, I believe the NRA of today does more in total to harm our 2A rights than to protect them. But we’ve all managed to convince ourselves that they are the only real game in town. I honestly don’t think they speak for me as an American gun owner and I’m embarrassed because of them. Let the NSSF whore themselves out to the gun industry – that’s their job.

    The NRA needs to get back to its roots and by doing so can regain a legitimate place at the table as the best organization speaking for America’s gun owners.

  19. I don’t see how the “shall issue” carry revolution could have happened in the last 25 years without the NRA. And they do track legislation on nraila.org on a daily basis, just not hour by hour. It may be a waste of resources to chase things by the minute anyway.

    The really tough issue is to know when to play hardball and when to seek accommodation lest you lose even more. I hope they have enough experience to know. I keep asking myself why they have refused to even consider background checks, knowing full well these checks are going to happen in some form anyway, and if they don’t happen, it could actually backfire in 2014. My guess is that they came out against the checks regardless of the political reality so they could “lose” on this issue without having to give ground on the magazines and AW’s. I could be reading it all wrong, of course. Whatever they are doing, I sure hope it works.

      • BAckground checks will likely pass. The question that I have, though, is why the 4473 has information identifying the firearm to which it pertains. If the purpose is to determine if the buyer is qualified to receive a firearm, what firearm he or she is purchasing is of no conceivable relevance. To avoid this obvious flaw, someone invariably pops up that gun registration is important as it permits tracing of guns. But I have yet to year a single reason that tracing is at all important in solving crime; just because I bought a gun doesn’t mean I still own it, or that I was the one that weilded it. And if it was a stolen firearm, does tracing tell anyone anything at all?Its past legal owners are of no relevance in the determination of who used a gun unlawfully.

        • //Background checks will likely pass.//

          My concern all along has been why the NRA didn’t see that and jump on the bandwagon in order to wring some concessions in the process. Maybe I am too naive and what they are doing is a better approach.

  20. Back in the days of dial-up internet I used the NRA’s ISP. It was about the same price as other companies but it was nice to know that none of that money wasn’t going to the Brady Campaign.

  21. I like the following approach:
    NRA lobbies … it is their core skill set.
    SAF litigates … it is their core skill set.

    And we need a third entity to market, communicate, and organize rallies.

    It would make a ton of sense for the NRA to provide the lion’s share of the funding for this third organization since their marketing, communication, and rallies would often go hand-in-hand with lobbying efforts. Of course this third organization would need additional donations as well. Radio, television, Internet, and print ads cost money.

    While I am often critical of political correctness, this third organization MUST be diverse. It should have men, women, youth, middle aged, seniors, liberal, independents, conservative, majority, minority, techies, non-techies, etc.

    I am quite willing to start such an entity. Anyone want to join?

      • Ralph,

        Such an entity definitely requires operating capital. All it would take is a modest amount of seed money from the NRA and a couple respectable initial donations to launch an operation. After launch, ongoing operating capital would come from memberships/donations as well as the NRA.

        Were I to start such an operation, the actual operating costs (not including Internet, television, radio, and print ads) would be minimal because neither I nor staff would expect $200,000+ per year salaries … and we would minimize office expenses with many staff working from home offices. (These are great times for Internet providers and dark times for owners of commercial office space!)

        I really expect that most of the money would fund communication and advertisements.

        I’ll work up a quick business plan offline.

    • I like the way you’re thinking. It makes sense.

      I’d be open to discussing how to go about making this happen. The admins have access to my personal email.

    • “I am quite willing to start such an entity. Anyone want to join?”

      the site admins have my email address, too

  22. The NRA has steadfastly refuse to admit the forth use for firearms: Resistance in the face of government oppression. It’s been happy to leave this to GOA and CCRKBA.
    It need to get beyond denial and make this a political argument, as we have plenty of evidence that validates it.

  23. I am glad the NRA is standing up to the leftist socialist gun banners,they may have been a little slow coming out of the gate but they waited for all of the yallahowing by the left to calm down a little!Then Mr.Lapierre let them have a wallop,and is still kicking them!I feel that he has had a very good effect on the Senators and Representatives,they are speaking out more now about gun control violating our rights.The left wants all the guns,then they can enact anything they please without the citizens having any recourse at all!Yes I belong to the NRA,and I bet some of you complaining about the NRA not doing more are not members,join up and help don’t just sit back and complain,we have too many of those type!We all need to help protect our rights,all of them!Keep your powder dry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *