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“Social movements and their bases respond to either fear or hope. The NRA has cranked up the fear meter to 11 and has kept it there for a really long time. Threat is really the strongest source of mobilization. In magazines and mailings to its members, the NRA’s messaging is about one existential threat after another . . .

“In some ways it’s kind of puzzling because there’s some scholarship that suggests you can’t constantly say the sky is falling. Eventually, folks are going to get tired of that kind of rhetoric, but that hasn’t seemed to be the case among the NRA’s core members.” Scott Meltzer quoted in This Sociologist Spent A Decade Studying the NRA — and Saw How It Paved The Way for Trump [via]


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  1. The NRA doesn’t need to use fear to sell guns, not after various Democrats in power (or potential to be in power) talk about AWBs and how much they like Australia’s knee-jerk reaction with gun control.

  2. Oddly enough, NRA members are more likely to be aware that crime rates are falling, and that statistically there is less to be worried about, especially if you do not live in what is euphemistically referred to as an “Urban Area.”

  3. Well, Hillary did say “Australian-Style Gun Control” and THAT is what inflamed gun owners. The NRA had little to nothing to do with it. Had she had been smart enough to have kept her mouth shut on the subject, she would have defeated Trump.

    Her post election meltdown was clear proof that she is not qualified to be the POTUS.

    • We are still locked in a heated battle for hearts and minds. While we may be currently on the offensive, don’t believe we can let up for a nanosecond. The gun grabbers have a propaganda machine that is still well funded. The only way for any kind of confiscation/ban to come about is to get the general public to buy into the efficacy of such a plan.

      Trotting out a continuous parade of degreed lap dogs is part of the playbook. Delivering “proof” that guns are bad, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Like Hillary, they’ll never actually debate you on facts, merely da feelz.

      As often as your time and money allow, please take a newb shooting. It’s the best thing in the world to counter the propaganda and the social misdirection of the antis.

      • Amen. Introduced two relatively new shooters to some concealed carry options this holiday weekend, and it’s always a good time.

    • I know something about social movements. Saying they are mainly about fear and hope intentionally misses the point about why they exist. Basically there are two types of social movement, instrumental and lifestyle oriented. Instrumental movements are largely about class oriented issues (i.e., the labor union movement during the last century). Contemporary social movements tend to be lifestyle oriented and consist of organized efforts to elevate one social group’s status and social power over another’s, first by encouraging them to change their ways voluntarily and then, later, through coercion and the force of law. One ever-present characteristic of such lifestyle reform movements is the creation of a moral imperative narrative which always depicts the movement’s goals as being right and just and superior to other views.

      The Gun Control Movement is just such a lifestyle reform movement and displays all of the characteristics I’ve just described. In terms of social movement theory, however, it is wrong to claim that Gun Rights is a social movement in the formal sense. Likewise, the NRA’s role in gun rights is not that of an organization like, say, GreenPeace which is a leader in the Environmentalist Movement. The NRA is, instead, a leading element of a “counter-movement”. Please read on . . .

      For a sociologist who’s studied the NRA for a decade, Scott Meltzer surely knows that the NRA did not become so effective as a political organization until the Gun-Control Movement began working to suspend the 2nd amendment rights of its members and other gun owners. It’s easy to get into a chicken-egg argument but I think history will show that the organized defense of 2nd amendment rights was in response to attempts to abridge citizen’s gun-rights. After all, those rights were institutionalized in the US Constitution and existed long before the current organizized attempt to abridge them. Therefore the NRA’s role is that of a significantly effective leader in, as I said, a counter-movement. Counter-movements exist to oppose and offset the efforts of social movement to effect changes in people’s behavior. The good Mr. Meltzer’s snarky little hit piece will play well for his liberal audience, but for anybody who knows a bit more about social movements than he apparently does, his sociology sucks big-time.

  4. Wait… Trump won?

    Good thing this political hack saw that coming and was able to reveal his prophetic political analysis so quickly! And in a new book too!

    He’s like Nostradumbass. ??

  5. The NRA isn’t causing the fear. Legislators are. They ban stuff and people get edgy about it. If the legislators weren’t banning things or endlessly talking of gun control – there wouldn’t be the NRA we have today.

    • My thought as well. The sky really is falling on the east and west coasts. The NRA has no credibility issue with “constantly” claiming the sky is falling when their are continuous assaults on the Second Amendment, principally led by Bloomberg and his billions, a man who has dedicated his fortune and remaining years to eliminating gun ownership in America. Like, Doh!

  6. What paved the way for President Trump was Barack O’Bama. Eight years of a liberal douche in the office who can’t be criticized because he’s black and everyone knows that criticizing a black man is just pure racism led to Trump. Eight years of a president pushing an unpopular agenda and using the federal bureaucracy to not only push that agenda but to target those who oppose it. Six years of a feckless Republican congress that didn’t even seem to want to stop BO led to Trump. Now the Democratic party is decimated and the Republican voters picked the loudest, most obnoxious voice they could find to voice their displeasure with Washington. And the political class in DC still don’t have a clue. Like Marie Antoinette right up until they chopped her head off.

    • I’ve been saying more or less the same thing since Trump clinched the nomination. Without Obama, Trump would never have been possible. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being forced to converse with a Democrat, make sure to bring up this point. They completely lose it.

  7. You’re not being Chicken Little if you publicize the fact that the sky has already fallen in certain parts of the world, or if you publicize the statements of politicians who proudly claim that they intend to pull the sky down on top of us.

    Meltzer is puzzled because he doesn’t understand the difference between rhetoric and fact.

  8. Fact is the proverbial skyfall has been going on for the last eight years and would have continued for another eight if HRC had secured her bid for the White House.

    You can’t call it FUD if it was true. Maybe now NRA rags can start focusing on more enjoyable topics (for a while).

    Pray to whatever diety you subscribe to for California (et all).

  9. Here in Wisconsin in 2015, a bill was proposed to ban all semi-automatic pistols, rifles and shotguns even though it had zero chance of passing. It’s not rhetoric when the threat is true. Out of one side of their mouth the gun grabbers like to poke fun at anyone who’s pro-second amendment as being paranoid. “No one is going to come and take your guns”. Out of the other side they propose taking away as many guns as they can get their hands on while trying to convince everyone that the second amendment doesn’t protect an individual’s freedom to protect themselves. Keep up the good fight NRA.

    • Then there’s the ongoing initiative shenanigans in Washington state. I used to think the NRA was crazycakes and nobody was trying to take anybody’s guns, but then I bought some guns…and I couldn’t help noticing that the world was chock-full of people scheming to take away my ability to use them, buy them, and keep them. Now I’m an NRA member. Funny how that works.

    • If you, yourself, are not ’round the bend paranoid, why do you feel a need to interfere with a man’s ability to carry a firearm? IOW, projection, again.

  10. Not puzzling at all. We’re just relatively well educated. We realize that unless we continually “stand and fight”, the Statists will tack on infringements. And we have many infringend to repeal.

  11. The NRA is as the author describes a “different” lobbying group. It lobbies for it’s members and the country and not on the behalf of an industry contrary to popular liberal beliefs.

  12. I agree with most commentators on here. It’s not really the NRA that is driving fear over possibly losing second amendment freedoms. It’s legislation, lobbyists and Bloomberg types. What drives worry is when states start pass crazy antigun laws. When the Massachusetts AG Healey all on her own bans hundreds of types of guns with a stroke of her pen. NY Safe Act and countless others over the years. When people running for president believe in gun confiscation. That’s what worries gun owns. What is actually happening not fear being driven by the NRA.

  13. Fear? Hardly. The NRA peddles in reality. You need only listen to the excrement pouring out of progressive mouths to realize this.

  14. “In some ways it’s kind of puzzling because there’s some scholarship that suggests you can’t constantly say the sky is falling.”

    A PERFECT description of the anti-gun cult.

    I’m still waiting for those “bloodbaths” that I was assured would come immediately after “shall issue” CCW came to Ohio…

    • Yes, and this comment:

      “Threat is really the strongest source of mobilization.”

      So which party is really concerned that the sky is falling (on them) and that they should be in mortal fear since Trump won the election? Which party is rioting in the streets and, OMG, buying guns!?

      When it comes to fear mongering the NRA is a bunch of amateurs.

    • First “bloodbath” threats I recall was “shall issue” in FL, passed in ’87. We’re still waiting for *those* bloodbaths, gunfights in the streets, and two-gun cowboy rigs, after 30 years. But the next state that edges toward “shall issue”, I can guarantee, will be the exact same terminology, word for word, two-gun cowboy rigs, gunfight at the OK corral, bloodbaths in the streets. Voters are really simpletons if they believe any of that, when it has been so thoroughly and uniformly proven to be lies. When a theory has never been tested, when it’s wrong that is a mistake. When it has been disproven for decades, that is a lie.

      That little thing on his chin-is that to tickle his boyfriends?

      • Like Holocaust deniers, anti-gun cultists have nothing BUT lies.

        If your entire ideology is based on lies, you can hardly defend it with the truth.

  15. The byline might as well have read that the author ‘spent ten years learning nothing in service to his liberal overlords’. It would have been a lot more honest. This guy is just another hippy metrosexual douchebag with a goatee and a degree out to prove something to all those ‘ignorant rednecks who own guns’.

  16. That’s because just as soon as the NRA’s messaging starts sounding like hyperbole, California does something so ridiculous it makes it clear that they’re not.

  17. In 68 the NRA taught hunter safety courses and held marksmanship events/classes. They were barely on the radar in America.

    At that time the majority of gun owners in America would have been classed as Fudds by the modern generation of gun owners.

    What changed us(I was there, then) was a little thing the dems pushed called the gca 68. The agenda became clear for all to see.

    You could say the modern NRA and the other groups like GOA and SAF were created by the very real and well publicised desire by the dems to take away the guns.

    It really isn’t being paranoid if they are, in truth, out to get you.

  18. I am a lifetime member of the NRA, and I am not afraid at all. I have known and pointed out to people for years that violent crime rates have dropped dramatically over the last 30 years, and that mass shooting ls are no more common now than ever. I joined the NRA for the same reason I bought another AR and a bunch of mags and Ammo shortly before the election: because one half of the political power structure has openly stated their intent to ban certain guns and magazines. One thing that drives me nuts is when anyone on either side says it is OK if they just ban a certain type of rifle. One: the purpose of the second amendment is very clearly to defend against government tyranny. Two: Bill Clintons administration tried to ban any scoped rifle as a ‘sniper rifle’ after the AWB passed. Three: the Brady campaign was founded specifically to ban handguns as can easily be determined by reading their history. Four: every city, county, state, province or country that has restricted or banned firearms for self defense has seen an increase in violent crimes, including homicides. England banned handguns in the early nineties and has only had a single year since then where homicides rates were below pretty ban levels.

  19. On the shelves behind this tw@twaffle are the books “Paradoxes in Gender” and “Choices in Sexuality” I’ll let it at that gentlemen…..

  20. The NRA as chicken little? So how does he explain the same tired arguments of death and mayhem everytime open carry, campus carry, or constitutional carry is proposed in any particular state?

  21. Well, if you keep calling peaceful, responsible people violent, crazy n racist, eventually they do stop listening to you.

    Outside-funded agitprop not even masked as astroturf doesn’t help, either, especially when the “No soup for you!” cabal keeps plenty of soup for themselves.

    Oh, wait. He’s saying people are tired of hearing the other guys? I think that’s backwards.

    The stenographer’s 10 years’ “study” of his thought-bubble’s interior has missed the hope of the pro-gun message. Guns are just part of pursuing more, better life. Most of the time, they’re just fun. Defensive guns are the special case when someone trying to take some if your life can’t be avoided n won’t be persuaded. So, neither resignation nor fear, but hope.

    Scholar-guy has missed that “pro-gun” people aren’t afraid of dying, but rather engaged in living. Sadly, sociology has fled its potential the same as anthropology, so after 10 years we get the permanent anxiety of “scholarship” overlayed on happy gunny people, rather than a look at this tribe in its own terms.

    This passes for research.

  22. Its not chicken little if the enemy gets up on a national platform and expresses intent to attack over and over and over.

    Besides, this is the era of hope. HPA, CC reciprocity, possible SBR/S liberation, pro 2nd SCOTUS.

    It’s all happy happy joy joy for the NRA now. No reason why a push for gains can’t raise funds. If anything with the wind at their back the coiffeurs should fill faster and fuller than any time previously.

    • It seems like they or others might benefit from focused donation programs. All you care about is suppressors? Donate to the suppressor decontrol site. Want an MG, donate to that site. When a particular site achieves XX, that should be a trigger for attention to the goal of that site.

  23. One does not have to read to far into these types of analysis to recognize that our definition of infringement is very different to the “progressive” definition when it comes to the 2A.
    Also, they seem to think that since there hasn’t been been, what they consider, significant actions at the federal level, that have come to fruition, then we 2A supporters have nothing to be concerned about. They also see the many state level infringements simply as minor inconveniences for us.
    It’s all a matter of perspective. Their perspective is nothing is happening. Our perspective is we need to stay vigilant, otherwise the entire nation will be in my shoes, with something like the SAFE act rammed through in the dead of night. Kind of like what they did at the federal level with Obamacare. And they wonder why we are always on guard. Maybe if they weren’t constantly trying to backdoor us?

  24. “Yeah, I think the really interesting dynamic that the NRA has in its rhetoric and its language is that it frames itself and its members as victims of this culture war that’s removing guns and giving special rights to women and people of color and gays and lesbians.”

    You can tell where this guy is coming from because he wants to make it about race and gender. Fail.

  25. Before “Chicken Little”, there was “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Interesting thing….in the end there really was a wolf.

  26. Normally I wouldn’t waste any time reading something about anyone who has a book with the title
    “The Paradoxes of Gender” on their bookshelf.
    But since this involves gunz, I made an exception.

    Strangely, unlike most MSM articles on the NRA, this interview with Meltzer and the German broadcaster DW
    provides a reasonably fair description of the NRA and it’s members:
    Much better than I expected.

  27. Meh. It’s from/on The Trace, a publication paid for entirely by Kapo Bloomberg. That is all you need to know about that guys opinion and what he did for ten years.

    And ten years studying the NRA? It took you that long to confirm your bias?

  28. Another intellectual who is full of shit. Hillary declared she would “stand up to the NRA” and the “gun lobby.” When enemy #1 consists of responsible gun owners, those responsible gun owners tend to notice. Feinstein wants Mr and Mrs America to turn all their guns in – if she only had the votes. Obama was greatly disappointed that he couldn’t ban more guns. States like CA, NY, and NJ push more gun control every year.

    Many schools, military bases, businesses, and office buildings have complete gun bans. These liberal dipshits would consider our gun rights secure if we could still see guns behind plexiglass walls at museum and nothing else.

  29. Although I’m not an NRA member myself, I have no trouble admitting that they’re right on this topic. All I have to do is look at what Maura Healey did just this year. Particularly annoying for me, since I was in the market for a nice rifle.

  30. The sky is ALWAYS falling. My local gunshop(Blythes in Griffith,Indiana) where I just picked up a gun has a NRA table set up. Precious space in a very busy crowded gunstore. And I live a scant 8 miles from Chicago’s southern border-where attempts at gun bans and illegal laws continue apace. I won’t comment on the murder capital of America. Oh yeah Fidel Castro is dead…yay?

  31. “Social movements and their bases respond to either fear or hope”

    Right out of the chute, he tells us all about himself, his friends, his life choices. Leftists will always tell you exactly who they are; they can’t help it.

  32. People like this are why I did not pursue anything in psychology past my BS. The same kind of people like this guy hang out in Psychology and throw around a whole bunch of crap with little hard science to base it upon. Instead of understanding the world around them, they want to shape the world to be like what they think it should be. Then they are continually shocked when the world doesn’t conform to their myopic view.

  33. This is the kind of crap you have to expect from a leftist socologist. In their world view facts are unimportant if they clash with feelings. Two truths he can never admit: the NRA didn’t invent Schumer, Boxer, or Hillary, and no matter how sharp your knife, you can’t remove the Y chromosome.

  34. I’m an NRA Benefactor Member and don’t pay any attention to the contents of the NRA political fear mailings. I know that crime rates are dropping and I’m not in fear of crime or violence.

    I voted for Trump because of the left’s attack on the Bill of Rights, especially the 1st Amendment and Due Process. The 2nd protects the rest.

    A matter of fact, I became a gun owner, CCW permit holder, and 2nd Amendment absolutist because of the outrageous attacks on the 1st Amendment by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights via Title IX (I work for a university).

    I hope Trump appoints someone to head the Office of Civil Rights that is a 1st Amendment and Due Process absolutist. Robert Shibley would be good choice.

  35. The author, as is typical for his ilk, gets it precisely backwards. Liberals overhype the damage caused by firearms while ignoring other issues, drug overdose epidemics, for example. Yes, Democrats want to take your guns when they get in power. No, firearms ownership is not a big problem for America.

  36. Scott Meltzer reminds me of other well dressed educated white men in american history who said black people didn’t need guns to be safe.

  37. A Liberal Progressive Sociologist wrote a Left-wing politically influenced book that’s slanted…Yeah, duh…I believe that’s called propaganda and agitprop! Wait! As a independent US vote- who voted for Trump. Im also more Civil Libertarian leaning…I know a group that’s gone off message that know one talks about…A group who’s helped work with legislators, insurance companies and law enforcement in many states. Whos help erode our right of free travel without roadblocks or be detained by paramilitarizied law enforcement for ID papers, and on the fly mobile drug testing without being arrested or charged with a crime…They also helped bring in mandatory seatbelt laws with the insurance companies , and draconian police enforcement as an excuse to stop US citizens…They used to have a noble cause…They were originally called the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving…Now their nothing more than an anti-freedom group…

  38. Have you noticed how mum the News Media has been in regards to the NRA’s helping to defeat Clinton. The NRA played and even bigger role when it helped defeat Al Gore who ran on an extension and enhancement of the prior Clinton Gun Bans. Al Gore admitted he probably lost because of the gun issue. No kidding. And Hitlery seemed to learn nothing from this.

    Lets face facts the only gun owners who do not belong to the NRA are cheap skates that would rather not join and take the chance of losing their gun rights forever. If it were not for the NRA fighting for us down through the years we would now be living under a Stalinist State guaranteed. No the NRA has not always been right all of the time but the NRA is made up of people just like you and I and when they screw up they admit it and pick up the pieces and fight on and they have done a damn good overall job since I joined in 1962.

  39. Don’t the libs keep stating that gun deaths are up, mass shootings are endemic etc?

    And they accuse the NRA & gun owners of hysteria?



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