By Steve Cañón
You’re probably familiar with the phrase “preaching to the choir.” Sometimes it’s an affirmation, sometimes a caution, sometimes a criticism, depending on context and both the speaker and those on the receiving end. We may be familiar with the colloquialism, but do we understand a subtle implication…what if the choir isn’t singing along? And what does that have to do with guns?
The never-ending debate over whether or not it’s politically effective to attempt to persuade people who don’t own guns that the Second Amendment is important and should be upheld ignores a more pressing, yet unacknowledged issue. We need to make sure we’re still preaching to the choir. All 100 million gun owners.
Capturing a few unicorn “undecideds” won’t seriously change the near even divide among voting populace of pro-gunners and anti-gunners. And for those who value the right to keep and bear arms, the most fertile ground for encouraging and increasing 2A support is the group of 100 million current gun owners.
One thing that should be clear is that gun owners are not all People of the Gun, and yet the POTG are all gun owners. This distinction has real meaning – a notable minority of vocal, dedicated gun owners drive the political support for maintaining and recovering Second Amendment rights.
The “drive-by media” will wail that the NRA is the powerhouse behind preventing allegedly rational politicians from implementing “common-sense gun control” measures. Civilian disarmament advocates and their media cheering section successfully make it seem that the NRA is made up of tens of millions of gun owners with billions of dollars to throw around in campaigns of intimidation against otherwise well-meaning Mr. Smith-type politicians. If only it were so.
Surveying the political polo grounds, a couple of question arise: Are we squandering our efforts on the chimera of converting the undecideds? Shouldn’t we focus our resources on energizing the frequently dormant gun-owning demographic?
Reading pro-gun blogs, one would conclude that the commenters are all single-issue voters, willing to sacrifice every other political stance in order to prevent any and all restrictions on gun rights. It would be easy to conclude that gun owners are a monolithic voting bloc who will oppose any candidate or issue that isn’t sufficiently pro-2A.
Is that true? Are the 100 million really prepared to sacrifice everything to keep the Second Amendment from being neutered? What should we deduce from the evidence today?
Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit managed to gather almost 66 million votes in 2016. Trump got just under 63 million. The POTG will become a marginalized fringe faction if the overwhelming number of gun owners refuse to act in concert to oppose anti-gun politicians at every level.
The combined number of votes cast was 128,242,246. Clearly 100 million gun owners did not all vote against an opponent of Second Amendment freedoms. Indeed, we must accept that some significant number of gun owners had other goals that superseded concerns about the right to keep and bear arms.
The point being that even with a natural constituency of existing gun owners, we aren’t being as successful as we need to be at raising opposition to the anti-gun elements in society and politics. Yet many of us still look at and focus longingly on those “undecideds” as a way to raise our political power to defeat the forces of civilian disarmament.
If I were anti-gun, I would be asking a harsh question: If gun rights is such a motivating issue and the “gun lobby” such an all-powerful, monolithic force in American politics, why haven’t gun right supporters been able to build an un-opposable political machine big enough and strong enough to defeat all efforts to enact “common-sense” gun control and the politicians who support it?
Why isn’t the choir singing?