Reader Cliff M. writes:
The gun rights crowd is overrun with freedom freeloaders: Folks who refuse to participate in gun rights groups, communicate with their representatives in government, or even vote. We used to get away with this, but Bloomberg’s years of spending are changing this rapidly.
Let’s take a look at this weekend’s Bloomberg-financed Mom’s Demand Action conference in DC. They had 1,800 volunteers fly in from all over the country to train to enact gun control. They were sitting in classrooms learning how to organize local groups, engage their legislatures, run for political office, and even take over their local school boards.
Now what about gun rights activists? For the most part, we do quite a bit of complaining, and that’s about it. Donating to groups like GOA and the NRA have been viewed as good enough, and then we just sit back and watch.
Those groups are worthwhile to support, but they’ve been rendered impotent due to forces working against them. Groups like GOA, despite their growth in popularity, are not providing what we need. Have they provided the kind of organization, structure, enthusiasm and training that MDA has? No, they post red meat on social media, lobby already pro-gun representatives, and engage in the occasional reactive lawsuit.
Yelling “Come and Take It” isn’t a strategy. Our opponents have already called that bluff. If existing gun rights groups want to be considered relevant, they need to step up and take on the anti-rights groups that are currently more effective.
What are the consequences of continued inaction? Well, let’s use Virginia as an example. Virginia is at serious risk of its General Assembly flipping blue this November. The consequences of that would be severe for two reasons.
First and foremost, immediately following the election, the state is required to review its district borders. If a Democrat-controlled legislature re-districts the state, Virginia is at risk of never having a gun-friendly majority ever again. Second, Virginia Democrats are out for gun control with a vengeance, and the special session they convened proves it.
Without very serious and engaged manpower, within less than a year Virginia could have some of the strictest gun laws on the East Coast, from which there will be no return.
All of this is at risk, but you know what? For the most part, the very pro-2A state of Virginia is doing little to protect itself. There is an excellent local grassroots group called the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) that provides the perfect backbone of organization we need, but it has very little participation.
In the run up to the July 9th special session, they stated they had 7,000 members. That’s in a state with 8.5 million people. Roughly 500,000 people in Virginia have a concealed carry permit. How can one of the cornerstone pro-rights organizations within the state only have 7,000 members?
In my little corner of Virginia, I have three local gun shops that are always busy. Why aren’t more these gun owners involved? Why aren’t these gun shops encouraging customer participation? Why is it that we allow the district delegate (Kelly Fowler) to be one of the most anti-rights delegates in the state?
How about this little tid-bit recently that was included in a VCDL Newsletter, which has a legislator saying the state’s gun owners are grossly under-represented:
Had my sit-down with my Democratic General Assembly member yesterday. It was cordial – I made my points, he listened (or pretended to, anyway). The most alarming thing he said was when I asked what the ratio of correspondence he receives is. He said he receives the most correspondence from Moms Demand Action members by a long shot. We need to do better. When I posted asking for tips before my meeting, several people said “don’t bother.” Well, if we all “don’t bother” then don’t gripe when things don’t go your way.
We have options, but we have to step up and act as individuals. A recent popular post on Reddit illustrates an example of what we as individuals can accomplish:
Due to a new push for civilian disarmament in my state, I decided to do something I’ve never done before: Personally meet with my state representative to discuss the issues. While getting prepared for this meeting, I found essentially no useful information online. I even contacted the local grassroots group I am a member of, who’s monthly newsletter occasionally contains reports of other member’s visits, and got nothing useful. Instead, I was sent a list of decades-worn talking points. I already knew my representative would roll their eyes at these given their firm anti-gun leanings. I am writing about my experience to share what I learned by doing, and to hopefully inspire you to do the same.
Read the whole thing.
We can also join local groups, like VCDL, where we can work together to push voting drives, lobby, and protest in large numbers that prove we are actually relevant in this debate.
Lastly, we need to control our legislatures. Elections, like this one coming up in Virginia, have average participation rates of around 40%. With such low numbers, every vote counts.
Every gun club, gun shop, pro-rights group, and couch potato MUST mobilize in large numbers to ensure we’re being accurately represented. If politicians begin viewing gun control as politically inconvenient again, we can’t counter those who want to take our rights away.
We’ve all heard the figure that the Revolutionary War was only fought by only 3% of the population. It’s time again to take back our rights, and we need to do better than 3% doing all the work this time.