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Reader Wendy writes:

I have been reading (and occasionally commenting on) TTAG for some time now. I read with interest one of your entries from Friday 4/25, “How can the NRA become less white?” Or perhaps more generally (and more accurately), how can the NRA become more non-OFWG? I decided to address this in an email rather than a comment, mostly because this response is going to be fairly long, but also because the comments seem to be running along the lines of, “Diversity? We don’t need no steenkin’ diversity!” . . .

Grant Cunningham addressed precisely this question a few weeks ago. It wasn’t people of color he was discussing, it was tattooed and pierced, socially liberal hipsters. But I think the same analysis applies.

Cunningham writes,

“One thing is certain: these new shooters don’t like the NRA and they aren’t members. They don’t know the organization because the organization hasn’t taken the time to know them. What they believe they know about the NRA and its members comes from the mainstream media, because too many members have decided that these new shooters aren’t worth getting to know as human beings.

“(Frankly, the organization’s social stances haven’t helped, either. Seriously, look at the major social activities planned for the NRA convention later this month: a country music concert and a prayer breakfast. Do you really think these people are going to be excited about either?) 

“Don’t expect them to see eye-to-eye with you on political matters, because they may not. Don’t expect them to join the NRA, because they probably won’t (at least, not until the NRA becomes more representative of them.) If that bothers you so much that you won’t treat them like you would other shooters, all you’re doing is insuring that future generations grow up without the Second Amendment advocacy that we enjoy today.”

Cunningham makes some points worth noting.

First: Culture. Want non-OFWG’s to get involved? Let’s start with last night’s concert, “Country Jam IV.”  Nothing against Joe Nichols and Jerrod Niemann, but that’s not likely to appeal to people whose musical tastes run more toward Jay-Z or Pitbull, or toward Imagine Dragons or OneRepublic. A little hip-hop, a little alt rock, would go a ways toward showing that the NRA’s culture isn’t just for aging rednecks.

And Alabama? They’ve been around nearly as long as I’ve been alive. I know a lot of people still like them, but see above re fans of Imagine Dragons and Pitbull…  As for the prayer breakfast? Nothing wrong with that, just that millennials are less likely to be enthused about that, and people of color would be more likely to show up if, say, T.D. Jakes appeared alongside Franklin Graham.

Second: Politics. I looked at the lineup for the NRA-ILA leadership forum. No women, a slew of very conservative Republicans. Three persons of color (Gov. Jindal, Sen. Rubio, Sheriff Clarke) so at least there was that. But still. We all know that Republicans tend to be pro-2A and Democrats for the most part tend to be anti-2A. The Democrats’ general stance is a problem that all us People of the Gun – right, left, and center – need to address.

But see Cunningham’s article above…attracting moderates and liberals to the NRA is going to be difficult as long as the NRA aligns itself with politicians who oppose women’s right to bodily and reproductive autonomy, LGBTQs’ right to live authentically and right to marry the person they love, Latin@s who have grown up here since infancy or toddlerhood being able to obtain the right of citizenship (and who are undocumented through no fault of their own). Or to put it a little more colorfully, you’re not going to get PBR-swilling hipsters and latte liberals to come if all you’re throwing is a TEA Party.

The NRA could start by supporting pro-gun Democrats (they do exist) such as Mark Begich of Alaska. The NRA could also refuse to reflexively endorse anti-gun people who happen to have an “R” after their name, such as Mitt Romney, who signed Massachusetts’ AWB when he was Governor. (Note: refusing to endorse Romney wouldn’t have necessarily meant endorsing Obama. The NRA could have said, “we can’t endorse either major party candidate this year.”)

The NRA-ILA could also have a little chat with politicians who say, um, unfortunate things about, say, sexual assault: “Hey, we’re glad you support 2A. But we’d like to increase female support for 2A rights by pointing out that firearms ownership can help women protect their right to bodily autonomy, and when you say stupid things about rape, that just pisses women off and drives them into the antis’ camp.”

Third: Wayne LaPierre. It’s time for him to go, or at least not be the public face of the NRA. He just isn’t an effective spokesman. He’s our Michael Bloomberg.

Fourth: Ditto Ted Nugent.

Fifth: More spokespeople of color, younger spokespeople, female spokespeople. (On the latter: Not Sarah Palin. She falls under the LaPierre/Nugent category of “open mouth, remove left foot, replace with right foot, close mouth.” Some women love her, but a lot of us hate her. And not because of her looks.)

Sixth part un: Introducing people to shooting and improving access to shooting. For urban people, lobbying to change laws making it difficult or impossible to locate ranges in urban areas. Recruiting and training more instructors of color, more female instructors, more younger instructors.

Sixth part deux:  Identifying and winning over influential community leaders – pastors, local politicians, business leaders in communities of color.  If you look at cities like Chicago or Atlanta, the black clergy are often in the forefront of anti-2A initiatives because of the heavy toll of violence they see among black youths.  Recruit them, work with them on the types of social change that could reduce violence, help them see that the NRA is on their side.

My $.02, worth every penny you paid.  😉

Thanks for listening.

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  1. May be hard to read, but lots of truth in what Wendy has to say.

    While I highly doubt the NRA will ever attract “PBR-swilling hipsters” and convinced liberals, who will tend to embrace the anti-gun agenda, it sure can take to heart most of what she says.

    If it results in a few more million members….how could that possibly be bad?

    • A large portion of this demo is anti-establishment no matter what.
      They tend to be the type that refused to go greek in college no matter how diverse and tolerant and socially responsible/active the chapters on campus were.
      As someone who was involved in greek leadership, I have to point out that no matter how genuine we tried to be, these people wanted nothing to do with us. The irony…. It was hard not to pigeon-hole them as anti-establishment misanthropes who would rather tear down our signs, vandalize our property or smear us in the school paper for whatever it was – be it running programs to help the student body understand people with disabilities, raise money to build handicap-accessible playgrounds or for cleaning up a mile-long stretch or highway come heat or rain.

      Ultimately, since these people wouldn’t be caught dead within a mile of an NRAMC meeting, they will have to be reached through alternate (….alternaive?…) venues, programs and organizations,

    • I am a “PBR Swilling Hipster” (whatever that means). I am young, and own many firearms, and I am staunchly pro-2A. Yet, I haven’t joined the NRA. I think they take too much credit for work for the work we do at the grassroots level. They are way too easy of a target for the left, as they are a huge lumbering agency. The left can has a hard time writing off individual members or grassroots gun owners, but it can collectively write us off as an “other.” When they get to lump us together under that umbrella. In the day of individual branding from facebook, twitter, instragram, and blogging, Colion Noir has exponentially more impact on millennial opinions than the NRA can ever hope to have. I think aligning their two brands damaged Noir more than it helped the NRA. These days people write others off by association without a fair hearing.

      • Please enlighten us on how you torpedoed the gun-grabbers moves last spring and that you were more effective than the NRA?

        If you don’t contribute to the NRA, than which of the myriad of other pro-2A group did you donate to?

        • Glad you asked…

          I called, wrote and emailed the prominent vulnerable Democrats as well as my local Democrats to tell them that although I would be willing to support them on the vast majority of their positions, the Bill of Rights was non-negotiable.

          I said that if they sold the Bill of Rights downriver that I would happily contribute to their opponents and volunteer to make calls on their opponents’ behalf explaining why as a Democrat, I felt that it was necessary to put protecting our Constitutional rights before party loyalty and as a physician, I believe that citizen disarmament would have little to no effect on ‘gun violence’.

          I believe that the NRA has become way too identified with Right wing causes to function as an umbrella organization. Don’t get me wrong, it does yeoman work and I am a member, but it causes a lot of cognitive dissonance.

          What we really need is to build a Left-Right consensus to support the entire Bill of Rights, not just the parts we like, not just the parts that serve us when we are in or out of power. Something that united the NRA and ACLU. Since neither organization’s leadership would agree to that, then a broader, non-politicized organization to support the BOR would be nice. Failing that then we need to form a Democratic gun rights organization.

          Perhaps TTAG could profile these guys (I have no idea if they’re legit)

        • I guess I hold to the mistaken belief that my multiple emails and phone calls to senators and congressman actually mean something. I introduced 5 people to shooting in the last year. I didn’t need the NRA to organize me. If you like the fact that money greases the gears in DC, then I guess you can go that route.

          I am not saying people shouldn’t join the NRA, I am just saying that growing up as a suburban male, I had zero interaction with the NRA. None. If they want my demographic, they have to explain why it is practical and valuable for us to do so. So far, it seems like the SAF does more than the NRA legally, and the NRA’s negative brand (deserving or not) seems to be corrupting the conversation. I don’t like it that MSNBC can just write all of us off — the people actually doing the leg work of their own volition– because we have a monolithic lobbying organization claiming they organized us.

      • I’m not sure what state you are in, but have you looked into your state level organizations? I know here in Ohio the BFA does their best to be non-partisan and regularly endorse democrats over republicans when they have better records.

      • As a volunteer RSO I make a serious effort to give positive attention to any new shooters. Often this includes young men and women, and people who the older fellas might call “alternative”.

        The way I see it, anyone that wants to learn to shoot safe and well should be able to. Once they do, they’ll have something to lose.

    • So the NRA should change it’s fundamental values to match the Democratic Party, but with gun rights, and all will be well? Sorry, I don’t think so. Why should the NRA alienate it’s current membership in favor of *possibly* attracting a minority? When the chips are down, the minorities will do what they always do and fall in line with the rest of the Democratic party. The Democratic party cannot and never will embrace the second amendment.

      As for not attracting younger voters..

      Our gun rights are going to be a thing of the past once Generation Y takes control. Why? Because they elected Obama twice, they had an “occupy” movement to protest.. they weren’t even sure what. They look to Jon Stewart and the MSM for their news, believe in the Government taking care of them, and that security is better than liberty. The majority of their parents were idiots who never learned, and they will be no different. If we want to help save the Second Amendment, someone needs to write a piece about how to successfully de-program brainwashed Millenials and teach the new silent generation to love the Bill of Rights in it’s entirety. As they currently are, they will be content to be denizens of a gilded cage.

      • You do know that the NRA is a gun-rights organization not a conservative or democratic organization? It says so right in the name.

        IMO they should make two organization DRA (Democratic Rifle Association) and the RRA (Republican Rifle Association) which would fight for gun rights on both sides. Thus avoiding the whole “Those are OFWGs” issue.

        • You do understand that gun rights are a perfect example of self reliance, a conservative principle not found anywhere in the Democratic party? The second amendment is an indicator of conservative or libertarian values, generally speaking. Those Democrats I have known who are gun owners are also the first to say that “reasonable restrictions” are common sense.

          So yes. The NRA leans right. Not because they have taken a social stance and come out and said they support conservative causes, but because the people who COMPOSE the NRA tend to be conservative.

          Libertarian, Moderate and Democrat gun owners whine about it not representing them and refuse to join.

          So your suggestion has merit. I’d be fine with splitting the NRA.. but I think the RRA will be significantly larger, and more willing to fight to the death over “shall not be infringed”.

        • “Libertarian, Moderate and Democrat gun owners whine about it not representing them and refuse to join.”

          It’d be great if it were possible to keep it strictly focused on 2A absolutism, but stunts like that Palin torture thing really give me a bad taste in the mouth. Maybe have a litmus test for keynote speakers or something. But I have no dogs in that fight, so never mind.

      • Over 400 comments and growing.
        Way to swat the hornet’s nest TTAG!
        The NRA has no clue what my ideology is or if I have tattoos or if I am pro-choice, but they took my dues and I got the cap and the decals anyway.
        This email about “Inclusion” is ridiculous.

        • Is it? Have you noticed the number of people here whose response was not just “Well, join it anyway!” (which I can respect) but who have actually told the not-like-thems who are still pro-gun to go the hell away?

          How much of that latter attitude exists at the higher levels of the NRA?

          Totally ignoring these “different but still pro gun” people and continuing to behave as if the entire membership is down-the-line-social-conservative-of-course by inviting speakers who go off on tangential conservative rants while standing behind an NRA lectern leaves those pro-gunners uncertain of that.

        • You don’t understand what we are saying. Why should the NRA change to be inclusive? It’s their party so it’s their house rules. If you were in charge of the military, would you eliminate all physical fitness tests because somebody didn’t like them and were offended because they had to do push-ups on the flea-infested sand pit? Why emasculate the NRA?

        • Yeah…because it is so hard to get in to the NRA. There is a waiting list to join. They should loosen the strict requirements to be an NRA member.
          This whole argument is asinine.
          I hear the same arguments about the Republican Party…from my wife. She says if the Party wasn’t represented by a bunch of old white guys, then they would attract more voters.
          I even had a black man (who is Conservative but votes Democrat because all his black friends do) tell me that the Republicans need to take a page out of the Democrats playbook and start making false promisses like they do in order to win more elections.

        • The way I see it, the criticism is of the NRA because most people see the membership as being of one race, one party, one ideology based on appearances of the members that attend NRA events. That is racism in my book. Wendy imagines that the NRA and its members must all think the same way because they are white. The same thing is said about the Tea Party. Most of them are white so they must have another agenda beyond limited Government. The NRA must have another agenda beyond protecting the 2nd amendment. I don’t see the irritated members initiating the exclusionary position you are referring to as much as I see the ones that probably wouldn’t join the NRA if it was a punk rock fan club stating that they want to change the makeup of the “typical” NRA member. It is just a stupid approach. It is a solution looking for a problem.

        • It has nothing to do with race. There are Bible-thumpers and bloodthirsty warmongers of all colors. I simply will not join an organization that thinks Bible-thumpers and bloodthirsty warmongers make dandy keynote speakers.

        • It has nothing to do with race? Then why does the writer mention OFWG? The W meaning white. Rich, sometimes I think you argue just for the sake of it.
          I also mentioned ideology as well as party affiliation. You won’t join the NRA because its membership and leaders are people you don’t agree with but you won’t do anything to change that leadership…except rant about more dope, less war, and less childbirths.
          You are worse than a YouTube Troll.

        • “You don’t understand what we are saying. Why should the NRA change to be inclusive? It’s their party so it’s their house rules”

          But then you complain when they say “well your house rules aren’t to our liking, so we will stay away?”

          Look, it’s either lighten up on “house rules” that have nothing to do with the stated purpose of the organization, and gain the membership you claim you want, or don’t, and accept that some people won’t care to join. You don’t get to make a bunch of people uncomfortable over irrelevancies, then demand they join your organization anyway.

    • Ditto. If that’s what it’ll take to get the NRA up to speed, then we’ll need to swallow our pride on a few issues and get the outreach going.

      Also painfully aware of the need to shift LaPierre away from the leadership. His anti-video game (and vicariously anti-1st amendment) sentiments are what’s currently keeping me away from the NRA. If he ceased to be a factor I’d eagerly go join.

      • No you wouldn’t.
        Let me paraphrase your comment:
        “Rather than join the NRA and get membership status allowing me to vote on the board of directors so I can be part of the improvement process, I will wait indefinately for the leadership to change before I contribute to an organisation that I generally support.”
        Tick Toc Tick Toc
        Time is wasting.

    • She lost me when she advocated for inclusion of people that murder babies.
      What good is defense of life if you are not even willing to protect the most vulnerable?

        • The abortion issue has absolutely nothing at all to do with guns.

          It’s also not murdering babies, that’s just an old emotional argument that isn’t backed by any science. I’ve never understood how someone could remove the rights of the person in favor of the rights of a tiny mass of cells…

          If the NRA would only focus on responsible gun ownership, it would make a good change in how they are viewed by most people. Instead of the far right leaning, unthinking behemoth it seems to be. As they are now, I’ll never be an NRA member.

          Yes, I’m one of those liberal gun owners.

        • I’ll believe that when I see you camped out on the White House steps demanding an end to all of Bush/Obama’s wars, including the insane war on drugs, and when I see people outside clinics with “we will adopt” signs instead of grisly pictures of botched operations designed to terrorize vulnerable little girls.

        • It is sheer lunacy/stupidity to bring up Abortion when fighting for gun rights. Why take an issue on which conservatives are completely hypocritical in order to argue gun rights? #dumb

          “We want people to make their own decisions except when its a woman making a decision about something happening inside her own body, in that case we want the full force of Government enforcement and denial of services on our side.”

          #hypocritical & a great way to make the Progressive’s case for them. Someday Conservatives will see how they skewer themselves with that one.

        • “a tiny mass of cells”

          A tiny mass of cells that is treated as a foreign parasite by the host mother from conception – that is, physiologically, the mother’s body sees that tiny mass of cells as a separate organism because it is, in fact a separate organism. It has its own DNA, it’s own cell proteins and is processing food into energy via its own metabolism.

          You can make all the insulting nonsensical rhetoric you want, but there are some mighty intelligent people on both sides of these kinds of debates. The debate exists because it is incredibly complicated to draw “ethical” conclusions from our limited scope of understanding.

          Your scientifically ignorant insults only reveal a closed mind.

      • Stevils
        The separate life growing inside the womb is not based on science?
        I guess biology isn’t science. I guess anatomy isn’t science. I guess nothing in nature is science to you…oh except for global warming.

        How many cells can you morally kill? You based your definition of murder on “a tiny mass of cells”. I know why you baby killers do that. You have to dehumanise the baby in order to sleep at night. In the whole scheme of things, we are all just a tiny mass of cells. How many are too many to kill. How do you define human life?
        It would simply be hypocritical of an organization that protects the right to self defense to not work to protect ALL innocent life. You leftists would be the first to point this out if the NRA did have a Pro Abortion stance.

        • The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman’s body is hers to make decisions about, not yours. If you want that manner of control, and your numbers are anywhere near what your people claim, then PASS AN AMENDMENT or STFU.

        • Did you just tell me that because the SCOTUS f**ked up another split decision that I should shut the f**k up? You know what else the SCOTUS ruled on? FREEDOM OF MOTHERF**KING SPEECH! THis is what you liberals don’t understand about the Constitution. It is not a living breathing document that changes with the times. It is a solid foundation that preserves the right of Americans to exercise freedom. the first amendment gives us the right to petition the government and right of assembly and the right to protest. We don’t need a Constitutional amendment to change the law on murder.
          You leftists claim to be progressive but as soon as the government rules in your favor you want to shut down all debate on the matter. Well with your logic, the debate was over 230 years ago.

        • Have you read the constitution? The only legitimate interpretation of its meaning is entrusted to the Supreme Court. In accordance with the constitution. You seem to think YOUR interpretation is more important, show me that in the constitution. Know where it is? In your ability to amend the constitution to counter the Supreme Court’s interpretation. NOT screaming and yelling obscenities and demanding everybody listen to you. As I mentioned, pass an amendment or STFU.

          You sound like you support the constitution not at all, while screaming about how it supports your intemperate opinions.

          But congratulations, that’s the first time I’ve been called a leftist in all my 67 years!

          How ’bout expounding on your quest to make murder legal, since you state a wish to change that law, and it is currently illegal. Do you normally get away with being so obtuse?

        • Larry, at 67 I am glad you learned how to use the internet. But here is something you need to know before you embarrass yourself again. The letter F in STFU is an obsenity. So before you complain about someone replying to you with obscenities, you need to clean up your act first.
          I called you a leftist because you support baby murder and you project like a leftist does in your arguments.
          As far as the law on murder, I want to change the definition of abortion to what it is and that does not require an amendment so don’t lecture me on the Constitution.

    • Then you are part of the problem. Unless you embrace the younger generation, you will lose them as allies. And an ally lost is an enemy gained. So, stuff your musical preferences, and focus on the real issue here: Our right to bear arms. That should be the ONLY thing the NRA or any of us on this site should worry about (as a primary cause – I know TTAG likes to dip into ‘related’ politics as well). Especially so the NRA – they have no business demonizing media, talking about reproduction, or discussing the finer points of LGBTWTFBBQ rights, OR associating themselves with people that make those things a major issue over and beyond the RKBA.
      The NRA needs to focus on firearms and firearms rights. Not other “traditionally conservative” values. They need to step up and truly act to represent all of those that seek to keep and even improve their situation vis a vis their 2A rights.
      And you – or any of you – complaining about PBR-swilling hipsters polluting your range, your conventions or your gun shows instead of engaging them in meaningful conversation, offering to genuinely help them, or otherwise doing something positive towards them, would do well to look at what we in CA have to deal with, where those same hipsters were alienated ages ago, and now act against us, unwilling to listen.

      Open your minds, or we will lose our noble struggle for want of a unified voice, and lack of allies.

      • Imagine dragons a hipster band? And i’m the fool?

        If thinking one of the most generic band on the face of the planet f-king sucks makes me part of the problem, then I suppose i am.
        Maybe they could get the whole iheartradio lineup. OR, they could get some real acts instead of something which has been ground into a dull paste by marketing executives.

      • Its not necessarily that the AI rejects newer music, its just Imagine Dragons has an almost painful tune to their songs. ☺

        • It’s popular, though. And I think in the context of this article, that is all that matters.

          Personally, I love The Birthday Massacre and VNV nation but I am a realist. I know that lesser-known bands will never be showcased in huge venues.

        • No reason not to have multiple concerts at the same time and different locations. As for the prayer breakfast, most of the millennials would rather sleep in. from what I see of em.
          As for embracing LGBTABCDEFGs, The NRA need not take a stance that iss offensive to them, but most politicians who are strongly pro 2A are not in favor of granting rights to people who choose to be perverts.

        • Jeremy, politicians can’t “grant rights”. You can grant a privilege, and you can restrict the exercise of a right, but if it’s truly a human right, you have it regardless of what any politician or king says.

  2. What she said is very similar to what a lot of us minorities wrote in the initial thread.

    NRA needs new leadership and to actually show a want to bring in new people from the top, and a current members to welcome in the new members.

    I’m off the opinion that the later will be hurt by the more vocal ignorant members, so maybe a off-shoot or sister organization to appeal to non-white and non-gop non-sporting use potential members should be pursued.

    • My problem with an off-shoot/sister organization is that they would be separate – or to be more blunt, segregated – from the mothership. The NRA must become more inclusive of all gun owners, not segregate us in an off-shoot.

      • I understand, but look at the twisted comments in this thread. There is a loud segment in the NRA, don’t know their make up of the members, but they are loud, ignorant, crass, and bigoted in their views and it will be hard to bring new people into the fold and feeling welcome without getting rid of the loud bigots.

        Don’t really how else the NRA as a group could attract more people without losing what they already have.

        • I have not yet read every “twisted comment” in this thread; however, I have yet to see anything bigoted. Could you point one out for me please?

        • “I have yet to see anything bigoted. Could you point one out for me please?”
          How’s this?

          sargo says:April 27, 2014 at 23:09
          If defending the 2A means “tolerating” perverts, sodomites, heathens, and pot-stoned wild-eyed Pagans

        • Why does Sargo’s Christian values make him bigotted? He is not telling his neighbor how to live. He is just saying that he wishes to not be included in that community. I understand that homosexuality is not always a choice but why does every TV show have to flaunt it? And who would defend perverts? Bigots hate anyone who isn’t like them. I believe Sargo simply hates being forced to tolerate queer folks. If the left is truly tolerant, then they should tolerate people that want to preserve traditional values. And if Freedom and Liberty are part of those values then give us the freedom to not approve of chosen alternative lifestyles.

        • @Michael In GA

          You can hate “queers” all you like, and you can even somehow call it Christian or traditional. However, there is a big difference between being intolerant and actively trying to make (or keep) the acts between a single person alone or consentual adults illegal.

          Continue to be a bigot (maybe not you, but that Sargo guy you are defending). But, don’t try and send people do jail fir not sharing your Christian values.

        • I don’t hate queers. That is not a slur. It is what the Q stands for in LGBTQ. I just have different values and forgive me for not wanting to hang out with them. There are plenty of people I would rather not be around. That is my freedom to choose. Why are you so against my choice while at the same time expecting me to accept your choice. I am not saying either of our choices are good or bad. They are just different and we should be free to make those choices. Be whoever you want to be but don’t expect me to accept you. I respect your right to be different now respect my right to recognize you are queer.

  3. One point, Wendy.

    The NRA does support pro-gun Democrats (Harry Reid being a prominent example) and routinely targets weak-on-2A Republicans.

    I’m all for criticizing the NRA, but you should do some basic research before suggesting something they have always done.

    • I thought Reid was only pro-gun when the BLM is carrying them?

      Seriously though, because gun-control is a major part of the Dem agenda, supporting the rare pro-gun Dem Senator is still a very bad idea, because they still cast that one critical vote – the vote for speaker. And if Obama told Reid to pass a gun control bill (and the GOP didn’t have the House), you know he’d do it in a heartbeat.

      • Um, Senators don’t vote for the Speaker (who is in the House). The Senate is headed by the VP, and seniority and party affiliation are what matters.

        But yes, the NRA has a heavy Republican bias, a Democrat is going to be scored worse than a Republican by them, and that needs to stop.

        And they need to stop mindlessly sucking up to the police.

      • And if Obama told Reid to pass a gun control bill (and the GOP didn’t have the House), you know he’d do it in a heartbeat.

        I’m pretty certain Obama did tell Reid to pass a gun control bill, even if it wouldn’t pass the House, because Obama wanted to use it as a campaign issue in 2014.

        The bill died under mysterious circumstances, in the Senate. The reasons are unclear, but it’s worth pointing out that the NRA will still be around long after Obama’s term runs out.

        • Reid may support and advance a gun-control bill about the time he announces his retirement. He is from NV, would be fired at the next election.

    • It’s not enough. Not by a long shot. As someone else commented, not enough national politicians are pointed out by the NRA.

    • Formally speaking, you are correct.

      Practically speaking, NRA events feature stuff like this:

      Which does make any liberal-leaning members very uncomfortable. Why is this woman spouting this kind of bullshit at an event that is run by an ostensibly single-issue organization? Heck, you don’t have to be a liberal to be disgusted at this kind of attitude towards torture…

      • You equate waterboarding to burning alive in the World Trade Center attack on 09/11/2001.
        I don’t give a shit how many Liberals that tongue in cheek comment by Palin made uncomfortable.
        How about comparing waterboarding to cutting off a twelve year old girls clitoris?
        How about compared to stoning her do death because she was gang raped by her fathers fellow Jihdists?
        Don’t cry to me about waterboarding until you speak out against “legal” Islamic rituals.

        • Whether the sorts of shit that happens in Islamic countries is worse than waterboarding is utterly irrelevant to the point here. Stop trying to distract people from the point being argued, and really astound me and everyone else reading this thread by, you know, actually fucking addressing it.

          If you can.

          Here it is again, in case you can’t remember: A single issue organization should NOT give people a platform to harp on other issues, lest it alienate people that agree with it on the main issue, but disagree with the speaker on the second, utterly irrelevant issue.

          You’ve yet to give a reason why it makes sense for the NRA to do this shit, preferring instead to argue about those secondary issues themselves. Yeah, lets argue about abortion and waterboarding instead of actually addressing the substance of the point. This isn’t an argument about abortion or waterboarding, it’s an argument about whether the NRA ought to give people a platform to rant about those issues.

          Man up and talk about the real point here–or admit you have no answer for it–and quit trying to distract people with tangents.

        • My first comment was addressing the email from Wendy. She or Mr. Cunningham in the original statement brought up that the NRA should embrace pro abortioninsts. I called attention to it and am just as against side issues as you are. As for the waterboarding issue, that was another response to someone who has an issue with Sarrah Palin. Again, I never took a position that the NRA should be pro or against anything not related to the Constitution.
          You are as off topic telling me to stay on topic.

        • If anybody’s interested, I can ‘splain my bile towards Sarah. Like everybody, I took her as the ditz that everybody saw in the McCain whaddayacallit; I roared at the Tina Fey bits, and dismissed her. Then she shows up on the scene spouting Libertarian platitudes, and I went all gaga – I even was going to ask her to be my running mate in my "write me in" gag. Then she comes out with that crack, and I felt insulted and jilted and hurt and all manner of schtuff and am having an internal tantrum. (“But she was doing so good! That Bitch!”)

        • “So we are left with the Obama disaster. Thank you Ron Paul Whackos!”

          Wait a minute. What circuits in your head need to short out to blame us Ron Paul Whackos for the Obama disaster? That doesn’t make sense in any universe I know of.

        • Maybe I don’t understand yours, so please explain to me the mechanism whereby we Paulbots are to blame for the Obama disaster.

          If you can.

        • 29% of Ron Paul voters in 2008 primary defected to Obama. No other primary candidates supporters had a number that high cross party lines in the general election. The highest number was only in the single digits among other candidates supporters. So who are the real RINOs?

          In 2012, if the Ron Paul delegates went to Romney, he would have won. The “Ron Paul Revolution” had an ax to grind with the GOP.

          This information came from mostly Ron Paul supporter websites.

          “Perfection is the enemy of the good.”

  4. For what it’s worth, the NRA has endorsed pro-2A Democrats, to the point that the GOP was complaining about it in the 2010 election cycle. While the NRA may still continue to do so at the local/state level, I suspect that the NRA may be a little hesitant to endorse Democrats at the national level after what transpired post-Sandy Hook where some of the “pro-2A” Democrats got a little squishy when pressed by their party.

    • Those “pro-gun Dems” still cast a very important vote to organize their respective Chamber – the vote for Speaker.

      Typical Dem playbook – if they have 56 Senators and need 51 to pass a wedge-issue bill, then the 5 most vulnerable Red-Staters will be allowed to vote “No”, and maintain their NRA rating, and yet the Bill gets passed . . .

      • This!! –that’s why I keep asking for “real” pro-gun Dems, who will vote pro-gun when it counts, not when they have permission to do so to stay in good with the home-town rubes.

        • And how can we get real pro-gun Dems? They get no primary support, or word-of-mouth (at least in solidly blue states). How does an individual find them and vote them in? If they had some kind of backing maybe they could get a primary victory.

  5. agree 100%. It’s been time for LaP to go since Al Gore invented the internet.

    And bronies. The next NRA convention should have more bronies with a cutie marked painted on their AR.

      • My Bronie friend is coming over on Tuesday to play some table top RPGs. He will be tickled when I tell him about the Bronies on this site. ..

  6. Paul and Wendy,
    I totally agree with you, for real. But there is just ONE thing that you and Ms Wendy need to figure out, fast. That is you can not bring a new ilk into a group by just plain pissing on those who have been there, spent the time, and spent their dollars for years and years. I have a hard time seeing this happening whilst I am looking through a large layer of caca-poo that was just thrown at me. Adjust your presentation and I WILL listen and help youALL out.
    Robert Seddon
    Life Endowment Member

    • You and I may not like what she has to say, but get past the hurt feelings and consider what the lady is saying. I don’t agree with some of her points of view, but overall she nailed it.

      I’ve been a member of the National Rifle Association since I joined as a boy in their junior shooting programs, over forty years as best I can remember.

      I am now a Life Member, Benefactor level.

      So, I’m committed to the NRA and am willing to consider all possibilities for expanding the organization. I’d like it to be something many people would be willing to be part of.

      I think Wendy has raised many valid points.

      The NRA is resting on its laurel. Just look at the leadership group: older white men.

      Their “public spokesman” is inept and awkward.

      If the NRA is content with preaching to the choir, then fine, they are apparently doing just fine at that.

      But if the NRA wants to expand its membership and influence they need to engage much younger people, who are social media aware and knowledgeable and get somebody in front of the cameras and behind the microphone who is skilled at public speaking, communications, persuasion, etc. etc.

      • If she doesn’t like what the NRA is or does, join or create a new group. Don’t try to be a leach and infiltrate an already working system just so you can say “see, we have turned the OFWG’s into a rainbow coalition of political correctness.”

        Us old fat white guys have dumped hours and dollars beyond and before this girl was born. That means something to us, even if it doesn’t to her.

        • The NRA’s formula has been successful at either fending off attempts to take away gun rights or even managing to expand rights… so far. In more than a few instances, it’s been a very close call. Somebody needs to be looking ahead to what’s next and anticipating what will be needed to continue being successful in the future. We see occasional glimpses of that (“NRA News” and associated personalities on YouTube), but a lot of us haven’t seen that much vision, forethought, planning ahead, whathaveyou, at the top… so far. :p

        • This is true, but continued success means suppressing complacency and the temptation to declare mission accomplished. This is not 1994 and Bill Clinton is not President. This is 2014, Obama is President like it or not, and Billary is the defacto next President unless the GOP can get its act together. Times change, demographics change, and that means that everyone needs to adapt.

        • So, you OFWG (a group of which I am a member) built an amazing house, laid a foundation that will, should and MUST last for many more years, and are upset because someone wants to come in and paint some walls? The NRA needs to invite them in, introduce them to some people, give them a seat on the couch, and let them form an opinion from within the perceived lion’s den.

          I don’t see what the problem really is with inviting different shades of skin into our party. I don’t care if they’re brown, dark brown, yellowish brown, freckled or even if they look like a unicorn sharted on their arm. The fact of the matter is still that the NRA looks like a party of OFWG’s, and that’s what’s going to get the NRA hoisted on their own petard.

        • dwb,
          You feel the NRA is becoming complacent? And wouldn’t suppressing complacency put them in a coma? The NRA is America’s oldest civil rights organization, I think they will continue the fight with or without a different face. People are going to hate on the NRA If they point out accomplishments and claim they are “fear mongering” if they articulate new missions.
          Times are the only things that do change…people stay the same. There is nothing to adapt too. Just keep fighting the enemy like we have been for 240 years. I don’t care what you look like…I just care about your character and your commitment to the Constitution.

      • Try to figure out that most of those old men were young men when they joined. I was 16 when I signed up. Do you now want age discrimination? The NRA appeals to young people, but wisdom comes with age… as does senility.

        • You and me both Bro .. I remember my dad looking at me funny and saying that my music was weird, but then he was just senile like I guess I am now. I don’t give a ripping flip what your bag is, just keep giving to the cause, or we will become recipients of a Holocaust we could never imagine ….

    • If they are going to make major changes, they better be sure to attract at least as many new people as they will alienate and drive out.

    • I agree with everything Wendy said here, but also with you about delivery. Generally, I think the NRA has been doing a fantastic job doing what it is supposed to do, but organizations change with the times or die. The NRA is obviously not on the ebb yet (or anytime soon) but it does need to look forward to recruiting the next generation of gun owners, who are not likely to be in lock step on a number of social issues with the current generation of conservatives that dominate the NRA.

      Point number six (part 1) was the best point on her list. I live in a Southern urban city. To get to the nearest 100 yard rifle range that is open to the public, I have to drive an hour outside of town. Needless to say, I rarely shoot my rifles. Fortunately, most counties already have great ranges close by: Police Ranges. Unfortunately, these are either closed to the public, or only open 1 or 2 days a month on weekdays, when no one can go. These ranges are paid for by taxpayer money, we should be able to use the damn things. Make ranges more accessible to urban, younger gun owners, and start doing outreach there, and the NRA can start to change its demographics.

      • +1000 on outdoor ranges. For a public, non-club range, I have to drive for hours outside of Chicago. Accordingly, I wind up shooting my rifles at a 75-yard indoor range or when a club member invites me to his outdoor range, which I am loathe to pay $300+ per year to join because it is 1 1/2 hours away.

  7. I worry more about gun ownership than NRA memberships. I’m a middle aged fat white guy and frequent a range with a very diverse clientele. I try to chat up the people there and I’m always up for offering my guns and ammo up to introduce people to things they aren’t familiar with. I’m also one the only gun guys at work. I have an open invitation to take anyone shooting that wants to. It also extends to any female relatives they have, who might be looking for a carry gun. I’ll also meet up with someone and their kids, and provide all the .22, to introduce children to shooting.

    Let the NRA worry about their membership roles, the people of the gun need to concentrate on winning hearts and minds. If the next generation doesn’t learn to appreciate their 2a rights, nothing else we do now will matter.

  8. I had to look up Imagine Dragons. I had no clue who it was until I fired up the Radioactive song that I hear every time I go to a store. My ears felt like they were at Chernobyl.

    I think with music the problem you get is a lot of bands are not pro-2A, but country music bands have a higher chance to be pro-2A.

    • for the right price, even liberal hip-hop musicians (i.e., Beyonce) will sing to middle eastern dictators. . . . . just saying

    • There’s always Kid Rock. Of course, like me, he’s middled aged now.

      How about having more than one concert venue? We don’t all have to agree on the music.

      And I do not support blowing all the NRA’s money to bribe liberal entertainers. We aren’t oil sheiks. Although you’d think we could get some real Gangsta Rappers who are down with guns.

    • I feel the same way about country music.

      I’m not even “younger” (in my book). I’m in my early 30s.

      But I’d rather say home than go anywhere country music will be playing. Country music makes me hate my own race – I feel that strongly about it.

  9. I agree that an outreach to the younger generation is in order.
    But the nasty truth is that the NRA has clout only because it can deliver political muscle when it gets into an election. That power has to be well and constantly exercised otherwise the NRA becomes irrelevant.

    • I’ve seen this happen in a few churches over the past 10-15 years. The outreach to the younger crowd became the main focus at the expense of the older people in the church. They marginalized the older members and pushed them out of leadership positions and put young kids into them. The younger generation failed because they were not mentored to take the position. Then the church suffers in the long run because the younger generation was not ready for leadership. The younger generation becomes frustrated, the older generation becomes frustrated and things fall apart. You don’t want the same thing to happen to an organization like the NRA.

  10. Wendy, as long as you “align yourself” with the murder of unborn babies, you can stay the hell away from me and the NRA.

    • And this is precisely the problem.

      The NRA should not be about anything other than the Second Amendment, and should stick to that issue and let others duke it out over other issues.

      If people like Wendy want to support abortion, let them align with the groups that do that. If folks don’t want abortion, the NRA is not the organization that should be about that issue.

      • That’s fine by me – however she was the one that brought it up. So if she goes on record saying that there needs to be a more pro-abortion kind of stance in the NRA, I’m going to tell her to get the f*ck off my obstacle course.

        • She doesn’t want the NRA to be pro abortion; she wants it to stop having any stance on the issue at all.

        • The NRA doesn’t have a stance on abortion.

          What she’s complaining about is the NRA backing pro-2nd-A politicians who have a stance on abortion, gay marriage, and immigration that she disagrees with.

          Sorry, Wendy, the NRA is not involved in the abortion issue, gay marriage, or immigration, and I don’t want it to be. The position the NRA should take into account when evaluating a candidate is the position on the 2nd A, not anything else. There are other organizations that focus on those issues, you are welcome to support those other groups (or not) as you see fit.

        • That’s why I vote Libertarian. I’m pro-freedom. Both wings of the Statist bird just want more government, with more power over you; their only dispute is who gets to be on the throne.

          Libertarians – slowly chipping away at the establishment with our secret plot to leave you alone.

        • rosignol:

          That’s all the angst in this discussion. Someone even said that they support the 2A, but they will never vote for a candidate that is anti-abortion and a few other things.

          In other words, for all the talk about being pro RKBA, a lot of folks see it as a secondary issue. The other stuff matters MORE. I’m seeing a LOT of “support pro 2A candidate so long as that candidate also supports the other things I believe in.”

          The NRA cannot win in this. If they grade candidates solely on 2A and never ever say one word about any other issue, they still lose. Because the members (or prospective members as we are discussing) place those other issues at higher priority, those voters will always and forever associate the NRA as being “anti-x,” not because the NRA is in fact anti-x, but because a candidate that gets a high 2A grade is anti-x.

          The NRA is guilty by association.

      • Indeed, Paul.

        Anmut is part of the very problem being discussed here. The issue of abortion has nothing–absolutely NOTHING–to do with the second amendment. If Anmut and his (?) ilk are going to insist that they can only work on 2A issues with people who share their point of view on unrelated issues, THOSE people will have to form their own organization to fight for 2A (or maybe they will just decide it’s not worth it dealing with people who put other issues before 2A). We end up with a fractured movement not able to do jack shit, because we are arguing with each other over abortion while the anti-gunners roll forward with their agenda.

        Anmut, if abortion is so important to you that you can’t work with a pro-choicer on a gun issue, you should pick up your marbles and join an anti abortion group, where you won’t have put up with people you don’t like. Please, pick up your marbles and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

        Don’t get me wrong. I will work with pro life and pro choice people, both, on 2A issues. I do not ask one or the other to leave; but I WILL ask those who DO do so, to themselves GTFO.