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Image courtesy National Review

National Review Online is the independently edited web version of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s conservative magazine. This month, in cooperation with the National Association For Gun Rights, they’re giving away a Colt 6920 like the one shown here. Go ahead and click the pic above to enter. No, really: the link will take you to the actual sweepstakes entry page. But hurry, because the contest closes Friday at 5:00 p.m. EST. And meanwhile, in Georgia…

Image Courtesy Paul Broun For Senate

United States Senate candidate Dr. Paul Broun is also giving away an AR-15 of unspecified manufacture, valued at $1,300.00. You can click on it to enter, too; Broun’s contest doesn’t close until February 27th.

Now that you’re back from entering both these sweepstakes, let’s think about what these contests mean for the 2nd Amendment, the Republican party, and conservatism in general.

#1: We’re Not Kooks.

William F. Buckley, Jr. founded the National Review as a bastion of principled and intellectual conservatism in 1955. His first job, as he saw it, was to rid the conservative movement of its ‘kooks’ including anti-Semites, George Wallace and the John Birch Society.

As much as Moms Want Some Action might believe to the contrary, shooters and hunters and 2A supporters are not a dangerous and disreputable fringe. We’re not kooks; we’re mainstream Americans.

The National Review, the mainstream journal of American conservatism, clearly gets this. By offering an American-made Colt AR-15 as a sweepstakes prize, they’re signaling to the rest of society that we’re not a gaggle of ammo-hoarding conspiracy theorists huddled in our doomsday bunkers. We’re one of them. We’re ordinary Americans.

#2: They Need Us.

2A supporters are smart enough to know which party respects their rights and which party doesn’t trust them. When a credible U.S. Senate candidate hands out an AR to a lucky visitor to his website, this shows that he’s actively cultivating our support.

More importantly, it shows that he needs to actively cultivate our support. And if he pisses off Moms Want Some Action in the process, more’s the better.

#3: There’s Nothing Scary About ‘Scary Assault Rifles.’

William F. Buckley, Jr. could charm the fur off a polar bear. Despite his anti-chic views, he was a sought-after guest in the New York/Long Island liberal dinner-party scene. His intellect changed many minds, while his charm and wit and sunny disposition softened many more hearts among the unpersuaded. He once said that his favorite under-used word was ‘irenic.’

The symbolic power of the National Review embracing the modern sporting rifle can hardly be overstated. With all due respect to Uncle Ted, the National Review’s endorsement sends a much more inclusive and productive message than “Suck My Glock” does.

Modern firearms are not evil, they’re not scary and they’re not dangerous. They’re just firearm and tools, and now (hopefully) icons of conservatism in general.

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  1. Good good these tactics are what’s needed to unify our 2a base and reform the republicans to be universally pro rights and destroy the budding anti gun movement

  2. Modern firearms ARE dangerous. But in the same way cars, electricity, and natural gas are. When used properly no one gets hurt. Do something stupid accidentally/negligently or on purpose while handling any of these, injury and/or death can and do occur. But as always, it takes HUMAN HANDS to make these situations possible.

    • I was going to say the same thing: modern firearms are dangerous as hell. They are tools, just like knives, chainsaws, and a host of other things that can get the user or spectator killed. The real world is full of dangers from crappy drivers, violent felons, and incompetent healthcare. Gun nuts sound like idiots when they say that guns aren’t dangerous. The 4 safety rules apply to firearms, not to a bunch of dandelions or a bag of frozen spinach.

      With that being said, I wholeheartedly support the 2A and the Bill of Rights. The responsible adult can and should handle danger.

  3. NAGR is one gun organization that I don’t like. If Obama sneezes, Dudley Brown will email you stating that the sneeze was part of the grand scheme to take away your guns. They come across as both the boy who cried wolf and chicken little.

    They spam way too much.

    • Dudley brown is also chair of RMGO and I get their emails (and feel your pain). What’s worse is they are always titled “Fwd: blah blah blah” and the second half of the text is a postscript which simply repeats the first. Sloppy and unprofessional.

      I don’t know that GOA is any better; I get more emails from them about Obamacare and immigration reform than I do about guns, some weeks.

      • If you don’t see the connection between either Obamacare or amnesty for illegal aliens and firearms freedom (and anyone calling the latter “immigration reform” probably doesn’t), then you might want to read a few of those GOA emails.

  4. I have to disagree with blanket statements such as “2A supporters are smart enough to know which party respects their rights and which party doesn’t trust them.” I know all to many Republicans who are Fudds, still. Concealed Carry in Colorado was for years blocked by a RINO committee chairthing, who would no doubt be shocked to be told she is not a republican.

    Certainly if you *don’t* know anything about the two candidates in a race, the smart money is that the republican won’t be worse than the democrat. They might even actually be good. But it’s not a certainty.

    • Then split your votes between Republicans and Independents. Either that, or go enjoy your “gun rights” in Democratic strongholds like CA and NY. I never said Republicans were perfect, but they are a whole lot better than Obama, Feinstein, and DeLeon for gun right. Actually they’re better than them on pretty much everything.

    • I would put it this way, that at present only the Republican party is likely, in a given state, to have a vocal or effective subset of leaders that openly support a reasonably natural non-newspeak interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

      Both parties contain large fractions of activists who are more in favor of extra cheap immigrant labor and special government financial favors, 2nd amendment be damned. Republicans in this group are business owners requiring cheap labor, like agriculture, low-end services, and small manufacturers. Democrats in this group are most of their politicians, desiring two nearly synonymous advantages: an increase in their core voter pool and a growth of dependence on government,

    • The GOP is by far the BETTER party on 2A Rights, but like all politicians they require constant monitoring and frequent corrective action to make sure that they stay the course. And it goes without saying that we need to be involved in primaries and platform-writing conventions to make sure our concens are front and center and that we vet candidates.

    • The more organizations fighting for the same cause, the better. The NRA has been singled out as the enemy by the left. If the have to attack dozens of groups then they will appear to be on the wrong side of the debate…which they are.

      • Good point. Several strong organizations are better than a single monolithic one. Especially considering how successful the progressive left has been at demonizing the NRA.

      • I’m starting to see the NRA as a role playing game-style tank in some ways, i.e. they distract the enemy and take the hits so the rest of the group doesn’t have to and can focus on other things.

  5. Same here on RMGO and NAGR… A dog farts and its “URGENT ACTION REQUIRED!!” from Dudley in your inbox for 5 days straight, and at the end asking to send money.

    Thing is, when things like the mag ban in CO weren’t a sure thing yet, and while it was going down …. crickets.

    I understand we need more than the NRA. But NAGR and its xxGO offshoots, and Dudley Brown in particular, I’ve got reservations about.

    I’m not really sure what RMGO has done here in CO except collect money. Dudley was against the recalls. Until they looked viable, and then of course out came the emails to “support” the recalls (which RMGO had nothing to do with, they were driven by a few everyday joes on Arfcom) by … yep; sending him “$5, $10, $20 or $50” ASAP.

    RMGO has also been known to be adversarial against other gun rights groups. Anyone setting up such a group (including the recall organizers) have, and will get threats and fightin’ words from Dudley. Usually he’ll just say they’re doing it wrong (such as when he disapproved of the recalls, since I feel he felt there was more money in it for RMGO and their email world-is-ending campaign if the grabbers stayed in power) … but oftentimes he’ll just get personal at his “competition”.

    I even feel he wanted the mag ban to pass so that gun owners in CO would wake up, be scared and …. send him money.

    If I see any actual action that RMGO takes to fight the recently passed laws here, I’ll change my tune, but for now the only reason to support RMGO is to get a kinda cool looking ar-15 sticker to put on your car.

    Same goes for one-in-the-same NAGR. (Take a look at the other xxGO, RMGO and NAGR web sites… they’re all pretty much the same design.)

    I agree we have to support more organizations than just the NRA, but I have yet to be convinced that Dudley’s operations are one of them.

    “Convince-me-I’m-wrong” is welcome.

  6. I would be thrilled if the National Review succeeds in redefining the coalition of voters that stand for liberty and economic discipline. As for the use of the word “irenic,” it highlights what went wrong in the last presidential election: Far too many actively religious people excluded both candidates from consideration. As a result we unquestionably, from the 2nd amendment point of view, ended up with much the worse choice as president. Though my religious views are very different from his, I hope Romney runs again. Even more, I hope that people in favor of restoring liberty do not sit out the next election.

  7. Well, knock me over with a feather.

    The afternoon cocktail and quiche-for-breakfast Rockefeller Republicans and neo-conservatives (i.e., east coast Jews who have figured out that the liberal/left wing of the Democratic party really are a bunch of seething anti-semites who would rather Israel not exist) suddenly want to break bread with the people of the gun.


    You’ll pardon me whilst I cast a skeptical and inquisitive eye upon this development. There is, without any doubt, more to this than meets the eye.

  8. I know this wasn’t the main point of the article, but I feel compelled to comment anyway.

    The John Birch Society’s “The New American” is one of the best political publications out there. Anyone who loves the Constitution, limited government, and the truth should consider subscribing to it. If you give it a try, I believe most readers of this blog would agree that it is generally excellent and informative. By the way, every single issue (2 issues per month) has a dedicated column to defensive gun uses. Another example of what you’ll read in it is a detailed analysis of things like the UN Arms Treaty.

  9. This is sponsored by NAGR, not National Review. It is just a way for NAGR to get its hands on your e-mail address. I don’t feel like creating another account just to send NAGR spam to. Pass.


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