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I responded to an email blast and attended an organizational meeting of the St. Louis area Friends of the NRA group last week. They’re getting ready to put on their annual rubber chicken dinner and fundraiser on April 5. Proceeds fund the NRA Foundation’s grants to kids’ shooting and safety programs, high school rifle teams, Boy Scout troops, range improvements and general support of the shooting sports. All good causes aimed at getting more shooters out there having fun, pulling triggers and promoting the next generation of gun owners. Missouri, as you might expect, is fairly fertile ground for the NRA. Friends chapters hold 26 dinners across the state (and 1100 nationwide) each year. But the smallest of those . . .

events in the Show Me State happens in St. Louis, its largest city. Last year, the Gateway chapter fundraiser – held in an area with population of 2.5 million – drew 200 people. That may not sound too bad until you hear that places like Columbia attracted 1100. Sedalia packed 950 in. Poplar Bluff, 700. Hell, there were 500 in Cape Girardeau. And even worse, according to Travis Scott, the NRA’s local field rep, Kansas City (1.8 million souls) doesn’t even have a chapter or hold a dinner/fundraiser at all.

That small-town America is more gun-friendly than are larger urban centers is about as surprising as Moms Demand Action’s feeble attempts at agitprop falling flat on their collective face. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still large numbers of passionate gun owners in those higher density areas. People ready, willing and able to support the shooting sports with their hard-earned cash. The question is, how to reach them.

When Missouri’s two largest cities, with a combined population of 4.3 million people, can only manage as many contributors as some of the state’s tiniest towns, the NRA has a problem. And a huge missed opportunity. So assume you’re running the the NRA Foundation. How do you get the attention of more suburbanites and urban dwellers? What do you do, Jack? What do you do?

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228 COMMENTS

  1. Out of curiosity, are they real densely populated cities or are they more prone to sprawling suburbs like most southern cities?

    Atlanta would likely have a poor turnout too, but when you look at how many “Cities” around it have vibrant gun culture, it’s basically everyone who works in ATL but doesn’t want to live there (like the Glock factory in Smyrna, most folks would consider that “Atlanta”) A lot of those who live “in town” likely do not have the means to maintain shooting as a hobby.

    So is St Louis cut from that cloth?

    • So knock it down by 50-something percent to exclude the outlying areas. That’s still 2 million people that they haven’t figured out how to reach.

      • There will have to be some serious retooling of urban culture before gun culture begins to gain traction.

        • Urban culture in the US (and Europe) is government-centric. The bennies come from the government. Volunteer efforts are sponsored and co-ordinated by the government. The people look to the government for their every need.

          Government, for urbanites, is their meal ticket, their religion and (in an increasing number of cases) their sugar daddy.

          Now, exactly how is a message of self-reliance for one’s own defense supposed to resonate? This is the question that I never get answered by the dazzling urbanites.

          I’ve lived in large urban centers. You can’t pay me enough to do so ever again. The mindset of urbanites on most all topics is intellectually repulsive.

        • I currently live in a large southern city (for a job). I’m from the country and long to move back as soon as I can. The city is overrun with bipedal domesticated cattle.

        • That is such broad brush horse shit, DG. I know you’re better than that.

          That’s no better than me saying everyone who lives in the country is an inbred yokel.

          Hell, the fact of the matter is that there are way more people on government assistance outside of urban areas than in them.

        • Swarf,

          It takes a certain type of personality to desire to live in a city. In my own experience, what DG says is somewhat hyperbolic, but in the right ballpark.

          Want to live in a higher crime rate area with generally higher taxes, more ordinances and laws, lower quality air, and ridiculous rents/property values all for the privilege of walking to some meals on the weekends? I’ll put the miles on my car thanks.

        • Yes, there are lots of people outside urban centers who are on the dole.

          Unlike the dazzling urbanites, we yokels don’t celebrate these people. We look down upon them with disapproval.

          As for the broad bush: Go ahead and show me any politician winning any election in an urban area on a message of self-reliance and thrift. Not a dozen such political representatives, just a couple will do.

          I won’t bother waiting for you to produce those examples. You can just spring them on me in any thread.

        • Your casual disdain for people who don’t think and act in a manner you approve of is… wait a minute, are you a Democrat?

          “Celebrate” people on food stamps? What the hell are you talking about? No one does that. Did you stop taking new input after buying into Reagan’s lies about “welfare queens”?

          I live in Seattle, what you would consider enemy territory and I have many guns and am a full supporter of the second amendment. There are 4 or 5 other regular posters on this site who also live here and feel the same way. There are always plenty of peopl at my ‘home base’ range and any of the others I go to around here.

          What can the NRA do to attract more urban members? Stop with DG’s brand of rigid dogma regarding people who live in cities. Acting like we’re all lockstep automatons is stupid.

          Stupid, stupid, stupid.

        • As I said, I’ve lived in urban centers, specifically Los Angeles and the SF Bay area.

          I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirts.

          You’re not about to tell me anything about the urban perspective that I haven’t already learned by being there and observing it personally.

        • I’m with DG. The wife and I are saving up for some acreage in WI. I’m consistently underwhelmed by city life. I’ll be able to move out soon. First the suburbs of CA and then WI.

          Mitt Romney got lambasted by his disdain that 47% (or 49?) of Americans are on government assistance. Instead of having the balls to own that comment, he got all milquetoast (again) and shied away from it. He should have owned it.

          Urban “champions” of the people aren’t Democrats who run on a campaign to eliminate entitlement spending. Far from it.

  2. In all honesty, I don’t see it happening.

    Either the NRA’s message would be flawed, or those within the city already see them as worse than Satan.

  3. There’s not a whole lot that can be done in some urban areas. But the first thing that we people of the gun can do is to stop condemning the NRA in public. Even here I read comments knocking the so called “Fudds” and the NRA with some of the worst language! Remember the 11th commandment, Thou shalt not speak ill of _____. We must present a united front.

    • Even here I read comments knocking the so called “Fudds”

      I don’t have the slightest problem…none…with someone who has no desire to own modern firearms if they don’t want to restrict others from doing so. But someone who thinks we should be restricted to bolt action rifles and double-barreled shotguns?

      That’s a Fudd.

      • The term refers to the cartoon character. It’s meant to be derogatory and thus is unacceptable. If they have the opinion you refer to, that it their right. The same as our right to think that there should be no restrictions on the type and kind of firearm we can own under the 2nd. My point is that we can’t have this or that faction giving the anti-gunners fodder for their propaganda machinery.

        • The term refers to the cartoon character.

          Being something of a student of animation, I’m quite familiar with Elmer.

          It’s meant to be derogatory and thus is unacceptable.

          Why is a derogatory term inherently unacceptable? “Gun-grabber” and “Statist” are derogatory terms…should we not use them?

          If they have the opinion you refer to, that it their right.

          I agree completely, just as we have the right to deride them.

          The same as our right to think that there should be no restrictions on the type and kind of firearm we can own under the 2nd. My point is that we can’t have this or that faction giving the anti-gunners fodder for their propaganda machinery.

          Fudds are antigunners putting out propaganda for the civilian disarmament propaganda machine. Anyone who says I shouldn’t be able to own an AR-15, Glock, or standard capacity magazine isn’t on my side to begin with.

        • Fudds are worse than the gun grabbers themselves, because they’re Fifth Columnists. Just like the gun grabbers, the Fudds envision a civilian disarmed future that doesn’t affect them personally. They figure they’ll keep their hunting tools, which is all they’re interested in, while the gun grabbers will keep their gated communities and armed security details. The Fudds are dead wrong and dealing with the Devil, which is their own foolishness; but they portray themselves as the third voice in the debate, the so-called reasonable, responsible gun owner with limited and noncontroversial uses for their guns.

          From their nonthreatenting perch, they lecture us and sell us out, with not one bit of concern for anyone else’s rights, or even awareness that they’re imperilling their own. Fudds always remind me of that dumb ass in every game of Monopoly who trades away a key property in a high dollar set to someone needs only that one to complete their holding and start building hotels. In exchange for what, usually a few bucks and a couple free rides. Then we all go bankrupt in about the next five turns, including him. Game over.

          Except, this stuff isn’t a game.

    • As long as the NRA’s political wing exists to support Republicans instead of our rights, I will speak out against them.

      • As long as the NRA’s political wing exists to support Republicans instead of our rights, I will speak out against them.
        That means you will stop speaking out against them. The NRA-ILA (the “political wing”) will and does endorse Democrats as well as Republicans. It makes its decisions based upon voting records.
        Now, it remains true that a much larger percentage of Republican politicians are “friendlier” to citizen firearms ownership than similarly-“friendly” Democrats. As a result, the NRA-ILA does support more Republicans than Democrats.
        But that is because it “exists to support our rights”: don’t get the cart before the horse.

        • And sorry but they’re not gonna go for many 3rd parties because face it, there aren’t very many viable options

    • “Stop condemning the NRA in public”.

      The NRA has periodically sold its members down the river, notably in 1968 and 1994, to name but a couple. When they do so, they should not expect those they’ve sold out to suffer in silence. You have got to be kidding.

      When they sell out their members, they should not expect them to be quiet about it, because SILENCE SIGNIFIES CONSENT. And I do NOT consent to being sold out. EVER.

      • Have people’s TTAG accounts been hacked today? I’m reading some seriously asinine comments out of normally thoughtful individuals.

      • I’ve said the same thing on more than one occasion, but not about 1968.

        The sell-out in ’94 was barely escaped by the 10-year sunset provision in the law. The other sell-outs have been on smaller issues, especially regulatory issues where the Clinton administration used regulation to pull a huge number of FFL’s from people over local zoning requirements.

        The NRA in ’68 wasn’t anything like it is today – or even what it had become by 1994. The NRA in 1968 didn’t really have a good response to the emotionally charged response of the various high-level killings (JFK, RFK, MLK, etc) in that era. The NRA at that time was a pretty low-key organization. JFK was a life member. Many Democrats back then were from rural areas of the US, and the Republican Party was solidly occupied with urban sophisticates like John Lindsay in those days, and libertarian-leaning people like Barry Goldwater were marginalized in the party. Ronald Reagan signed gun control legislation while governor of California.

        The NRA became politically organized in the mid-70’s. The NRA-ILA, the “lobbying arm” of the NRA, wasn’t founded until 1975. That’s when HCI was formed, BTW, and the real battle over gun control as we know it today started.

        After ’94 came the big changes at the board level of the NRA. The board elections in the mid-90’s started favoring activists and rabble-rousers over WWII vets and “fudds” who were willing to give up black guns to keep their Parker and Fox double guns.

        Still, too many people think the NRA has been the political force it is today forever. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

        The NRA-ILA wasn’t a real force to be reckoned with until after the 1994 congressional elections. That’s when the Congress went solidly Republican after decades (going back to the Depression) of Democrat domination. Those of you were are too young to have voted in 1994 simply don’t understand what happened that night. I remember it quite well. The news anchors of the Big Three networks had looks on their faces like someone just boot-stomped a litter of kittens in front of them. At the end of the evening, I remember Tom Brokaw saying “Well, it looks like the voters have had a temper tantrum” or words to that effect. They could not believe it. The looks of horror on their faces by the time the polls closed in the Mountain Time Zone were delicious – and the news just kept getting worse for them when things got to Pacific Time Zone.

        No fewer than 21 seats in Congress changed hands on the gun control issue alone. The NRA-ILA was responsible for that, and now the NRA was the 800 pound gorilla on the loose in DC. Not even the AARP had that kind of power. In the remains of the Congressional session after the ’94 elections, more than one Democrat who was voted out was seen or heard on camera to be shouting at Chuck Schumer, who was then the face of gun control in the House. Schumer was told to STFU by the remaining Democrat leadership. Schumer has a face for radio and a voice for writing. People like to talk about how LaPierre is off-putting to people? Schumer is every bit of that times 10.

        The reason why the NRA was able to fight the recent legislative push to a standstill comes from there being enough members still in Congress who remember the wipe-out that the Democrats suffered as a result of 1994. If you compare the way Chuck Schumer talked in 1994 to 2013, you’ll see that Schumer remembers too. This time around, he was much lower key on the issue, and he allowed others to get more face-time on cameras. In the 1994 debates, we used to joke that the most dangerous place to be in the US was anywhere between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera.

        Lots of idiotic, snarky twerps who are op-ed writers for various newspapers and blogs today were either in diapers or weren’t paying attention in 1994, and they thought that the Congress and their glorious leader Obama could steamroll the NRA in 2013. They’re still whining like puppies even now when it has been “explained” to them by people in the halls of Congress that the NRA isn’t any weaker in 2013 than it was in 1994… in fact, it is stronger.

        • Bill Clinton himself warned the Dems to avoid gun control. Sandy Hook got the wind up their skirts and they thought it was their time to run amok. They was wrong.

          The early 90’s is important for the youngters out there in another big way. Most states that are shall issue now, weren’t in 1990. Don’t take for granted something that has been around for such a short time. POTG need to keep their resources pooled and whether we agree with every move they make or not, the NRA is the group our enemies despise and fear.

          • How stubborn and stupid doe Democrats have to be to ignore a warning from Bill Clinton?

            They WANT US DISARMED. It’s seeming just about all they ever think about. They want us unable to resist what they have in store for us. Starts with a “T” and ends in “y”.

        • That’s quite true as well. Back in the early 90’s, not even states like Wyoming were shall-issue CCW states yet. Only Florida and Vermont really stood out as really good CCW states.

          We didn’t have Heller, much less McDonald, and there was rampant talk, even by the (then) retired Chief Justice of the SCOTUS (Warren Burger) that the NRA (and all other pro-RKBA organizations) were peddling a “fraud” (his exact word) with the “individual interpretation” of the Second Amendment. That was in 1990, BTW, in “Parade” magazine, that insert that was in most Sunday editions of lots of newspapers across the US at that time.

          The NRA-ILA got lots of “shall-issue” laws passed in that environment throughout the 90’s. Urban paradises like Chicago are simply last on the list, after the NRA can point to the vast majority of states in the US and say “Where’s the predicted shoot-outs? Where’s the rivers of blood you kept promising would run in the streets, hmm?”

          I should hasten to remind the younger readers of TTAG that in 1990, there was no Internet as we know it today, never mind a web browser. There was a mostly-closed “internet” that was restricted to research and military organizations, about all you had was email, telnet and FTP. The best organizing force that pro-gun people had back then were mailing/phone-tree lists. Some people who were really high-tech had UUCP connections (like yours truly) or were on private dial-up BBS’s. I spent a lot of time typing in printed materials for rapid dissemination through these archaic links. The first time I saw a viable web browser (Mosaic on X Windows) was in late ’93 or early ’94. The penetration of the Internet still was nowhere near enough to make a difference in the 1994 Brady/AW bill battle, or in the ’94 elections. That was 99% old-time organization, shoe leather and piles of cash.

        • I remember that night very well. The network anchors did indeed look as if they had just taken a bite of a big turd sandwich. It was a glorious evening made sweeter by that smarmy little prick Jim Sasser given the boot. Good times.

  4. Go heavy on CCW and personal and home defense training. Advertise around the issues that matter to urbanites. They don’t think nearly as much about sport shooting as they do crime. They have the ability to provide high-quality training. Do that and the money will follow.

    • It’s amazing how many non-constructive answers have been given to a fairly reasonable question. I agree with this guy, emphasize what gun rights can do for someone in a city. NRA still sends off the old hunting organization vibe. City dwellers could care less about deer stands and camo. Run separate advertising campaigns, don’t throw out the country folk, but add in an emphasis on personal and home protection. That’s what the family in the city thinks of when considering gun ownership.

    • Michael Burns’ comment for the win!!!!!

      The overwhelming majority of urbanites don’t care about hunting, long range shooting, the Appleseed Project, three gun competitions, trap shooting, or the like. But they do care about self-defense and protecting themselves when they are walking to mass transit, a restaurant, or simply relaxing in their homes or apartments. And that has NOT been the traditional focus of the NRA.

      Heck, just look at the name: National Rifle Association. What do most urbanites care about rifles … something that they see of absolutely no utility ever in their lives? Why even have it in the name other than to appease Fudds and for historical purposes?

      If the NRA wants massive response from urban masses, they must focus on self-defense for urban masses. And that means training and advocating for concealed carry of handguns … something that has NOT been the NRA’s focus in the past.

      Once you get people involved, expose them to all other things related to firearms and see where it goes from there.

    • This.

      As an ‘urbanite’, and gun owner, I view the NRA as “old school/right wing/fundamentalist Christian/etc” and as such have not joined.

  5. Speaking as a St. Louis NRA member and somewhat educated urban type, the first thing they need to do is can old Wayne. I know a lot of more or less liberal types who are 2A supporters, but are really embarrassed every time he opens his mouth.

      • I’m sorry, but the man is personally offensive to me and every other gun owner I know. It’s not a matter of his message so much as his manner. He, quite frankly, comes across on the screen as somewhat demented.

        If we want to communicate with liberal leaning urban types, he has to go. He actually scares some people I know who are otherwise very accepting of gun culture and the second amendment.

        • It was a Civil War. Calling it anything else smacks of the papering-over of things (FACTS, large and small) important to actually understanding history at any time or in any place.

          Using the term “The War Of Northern Aggression” is historical revisionism for (I’m not sure what exactly but never truly rational) political ends directly equivalent to the Communist Party in the USSR (and Putin currently) using the aftermath and collective memory of “The Great Patriotic War” as a propaganda tool to ensure the acquiescence of the masses.

          Parroting propaganda is poor policy for the People.

        • It was a civil war in which one set of people tried to maintain slavery and their economic model over another set. Referring to the “War of Northern Aggression” is inconsistent with the promotion of freedom and civil rights for everyone.

        • A civil war is when two (or more) factions fight for the control of a single government. The sovereign states of the Confederate nation were exercising their basic human rights to secede from a tyrannical government. It was not a civil war, it was a war of the United States invading another nation.

        • The sovereign states of the Confederate nation were exercising their basic human rights to secede from a tyrannical government.

          Since the Confederate States held millions of their subjects in slavery, weren’t they by definition tyrannical themselves?

        • POTG gun raving about their constitutional rights while supporting the “Sovereign States of the Confederacy” and it’s policy of slavery is a real glimpse into why the NRA has trouble reaching out to the urban folks . Because the lunatic fringe of gun owners post these types of statements makes the rest of us look just as unbalanced.

          Sadly, the lack of a dog pile response by we supposedly responsible gun owners to these disgusting comments no doubt simply reinforces negative stereotypes that serves the best interest of the grabbers and the urban hucksters trying to keep guns limited.

        • I’m going to point out something that may not be very popular, but I do think it’s accurate. There is a small (perhaps very small) portion of the pro-gun movement that’s racist to the core.

          How small? Hard to give a definitive number. Certainly no more than 5%, and possibly as low as 1 or 2%…but they’re very vocal, at least when posting anonymously on the internet; just check out far-right message boards such as Free Republic.

          And they make the rest of us look bad, simply by association.

          Look, I’m not trying to be politically correct. I’ll freely acknowledge, for instance, that African-Americans commit violent crimes in far greater numbers per capita than the population at large. But defending the CSA, along with the slavery inherent in its formation? Really?

          And let’s not forget that Leftists have their own brand of condescending racism, wanting group racial rights and treating others differently for no other reason than the color of their skin…

        • Civil war aside, I wish our schools would cover history better. It was the Democrat party that fought to keep slavery in this country. Republicans, Lincoln, who opposed slavery. The KKK was founded and supported by the Democrats. The Republicans did not hold any control in the South for over 100 years after the Civil War. It was the Democrats who passed and gave this nation the Jim Crow laws. Now it is the same Democrats who count on the same people they oppressed to keep them in power, and it works. I have never been able to figure this out except to say history needs to be taught the truth not the feel good liberal slant.

          Please do not take my word on this check the facts for yourself.

        • I’m not sure I have a dog in this fight. I am not from the south. That said, the Civil War was NOT just about slavery, and slavery wasn’t even the key issue of the conflict. Now according to the history books it is, but that is to make us all feel warm and fuzzy about it. The bigger issue in the war was the economics, and the North wanting to buy southern crops for their textile industries at lower rates than the South could sell them for in Europe. The South wanted to sale to Europe and maximize profit. Slavery was just a convenient scapegoat.
          For those of us who state the second amendment is about tyranny, think on this:
          “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
          If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, what happens when the governed no longer consent? What percentage have to not consent for the government to be unjust? A State, a county, a city, an individual? Estimates are only 10% of American Colonists participated in the Revolutionary war. The other 90% may not have liked the King, but were perfectly fine living under his laws and regulations. This is one of the hardest questions to answer.
          The Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary war was followed by a period of local government only, and virtual anarchy. This didn’t work so the states got together and formed the Constitution while trying to maintain true to their revolutionary ideals. If an individual can deny consent to be governed, government has no power. If an individual is denied the right of non consent, the government is tyrannical, even if only to that individual. As we talk of liberty and basic rights, eventually we have to address this conundrum.

        • Just remember that the winners of conflict write the history books. Then they who are in power can twist them.

        • Slavery was the key word of the conflict. The states that seceded to form the Confederacy have said as much in their declarations of seccession. E.g., Mississippi:

          “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery– the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.”

          South Carolina goes even further, and blames the free states for not enforcing the rights of slave owners on their territory:

          “The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.”

          (here’s the complete statements: http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html)

          They did follow up on that, too. One thing that CSA constitution did have that USA constitution did not was slavery defined as a protected, universal institution on Federal level – in effect, being more restrictive in what the states could do for themselves (so much for states’ rights!):

          “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.”

          “The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states, and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any state of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property: and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.”

          and all new territories to be added to the Confederacy would also be forced to be slave states:

          “The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several states; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form states to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory, the institution of negro slavery as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress, and by the territorial government: and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories, shall have the right to take to such territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the states or territories of the Confederate states.”

          (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_Confederate_States_of_America)

          And then, of course, there was the Cornerstone Address by Alexander Stephens, the first elected Vice President of CSA:

          “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind — from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics; their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just — but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.”

          (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Cornerstone_Speech)

          So, no. For the South, it was all about slavery. This is not to say that it wasn’t about economy, too – slavery was extremely profitable, and it was also the only thing that could make the southern labor-intensive economy competitive with rapidly industrializing North. In the end, it was subjugation for profit, but isn’t that universally the case in human history?

          Anyway, given the institution of slavery and the sheer number of slaves, I don’t think that southern states could make any reasonable claim of representing their population, and hence their sovereignty was that of a tyrant, not that of a people – and no free state or person is obliged to respect the sovereignty of a tyrant.

      • That was a joke. He was teasing some yankees at an event. Still, I suppose the NRA guys are going to have to learnt to self censor so that nothing can be deliberately taken out of context and abused as that joke was. I don’t want to live in a world in which we can’t rib each other, but that is the hand we are dealt since the press and anti-gun groups are full of liars.

        • As jokes go, it’s about as appropriate as teasing Jews by referring to Holocaust as “the war for the restoration of German sovereignty”, or something along these lines.

  6. Good, bad, or indifferent I think the NRA is a victim of it’s own success over the last 140 years. It’s seen as a top heavy bureaucracy populated by OFWG’s that are out of touch with the reality of how people in the cities actually live. I’m not saying it’s TRUE, but that is the perception of a lot of the country.

    They gained a massive amount of new support post-Newtown, but as you pointed out their support base is nothing close to what it should be for a group that’s primary purpose is protecting a fundamental right of every citizen.

    In order to fix it I think they would need a major organizational upheaval. Somehow, and I don’t suggest that I know how, they need to reorganize and rebrand themselves as a champion of “the little guy.” I think that would be the best tack for them to convert the vast majority of people.

    • that is the perception of a lot of the country

      @peirsonb, I don’t believe that you’re correct. Some may have that opinion. But it’s important to take notice that a majority of people have favorable opinion of the NRA, based on polling by Gallup and others who are no friends of gun rights.

      In the last Gallup poll that I saw, 54% of polled Americans had a favorable opinion of the NRA. That’s higher than POTUS or Congress. It’s also higher than the MSM, the main enemy of freedom in America.

      • I….I don’t know what to say. There isn’t any sarcasm in your response…I’m kind of offended…

        • When I try to be thoughtful and nice, people get offended. When I try to be snarky, people get offended. I tell ya, it ain’t easy being me.

  7. With 1000 guns a day sold in Baltimore. They aren’t all unhappy gun grabbers. Their just in the closets.

    • That number was only for the month right before the ban took effect.

      In the first nine months of 2013, when gun sales were skyrocketing in Maryland (before the new law took effect) there were 117,009 guns sold. That’s an average of about 3000 per week. A fair number, but not a sustained 1000 per day.

      And that’s for the entire state of Maryland, not just Baltimore.

      (source)

  8. Get more young people into guns. How? That’s debatable. Maybe shooting leagues or something. Hell, hipsters started wearing skinny jeans. Surely they can be convinced to have some fun at the range.

    • I imagine it’s pretty uncomfortable stuffing your gun into skinny jeans. Maybe that’s the whole problem right there.

      • That’s what the Kel-Tecs are for. P32 is as light and skinny as it gets.

        Hey, I think I see the problem now! You guys diss KT way too much around here.

  9. Export: There have to be a lot of urban gun owners in places like Detroit with real stories about how firearms protect them and the police can’t. Frankly, people would rather move out of urban areas. I think it really requires a cultural paradigm shift, a willingness to try something perceived as “radical,” a battle that can only be won one person at a time.

    • There is a lot of truth to what dwb says.

      Let’s be honest: the NRA traditionally has absolutely nothing to offer most urbanites as far as they are concerned. If we really want to reach urbanites, grass roots efforts from real people who have real stories that illustrate the benefits of an armed citizenry are the way to go.

      I have actually started brainstorming this very concept in the last few months. My first thoughts were organizing and sending small groups of people (less than 10) to stand on sidewalks, be polite, and hand out simple half-page flyers to passersby. Of course these groups would all be dressed nicely, visibly armed, holding two signs with simple positive messages, and located throughout urban areas — both downtown centers and near neighborhoods. The very presence of those responsible armed citizens in small groups would be an extremely powerful message.

    • I agree, time for a total revamp.

      Pick a young yet vociferously sane and rational celebrity supporter of the 2A instead. Publicize, tweet, blog, billboard, etc. … Which the NRA has been doing poorly for decades (where applicable) anyway.

      It’s not that every Well-Aged Pale Gentleman (WAPG) is essentially and for all intents and purposes culturally illiterate these days … But it’s close.

    • Absolutely retool. Because ColionNoir saved us from “universal” background checks and a new assault weapons ban last year.

      Only it wasn’t. He had zero to do with it. Nothing.

      It was Grandpa Stiffbody who engineered the total destruction of Obama’s gungrabbing campaign. You know Grandpa Stiffbody, the guy you’re trying to get rid of? Yeah, that guy.

      • Then keep him in charge of strategy and campaigning and get some fresh faces up front.

        Whether or not he’s good at his job is irrelevant in the context of attracting new members who would otherwise view the NRA as a bastion of good ol’ boys – snap judgements based on limited information are human nature, and that’s why marketing pays so well if you’re good at it.

        • Yep. I don’t think anyone can argue that Wayne’s performance at the post-Newtown press conference was the reason no legislation gained traction in Congress. Even the NRA is basically admitting as much since they’re in the process of introducing new spokespeople.

          What does seem clear is that Wayne LaPierre (aka Grandpa Stiffbody) is a masterful arm twister and leg breaker when it comes to keeping Congress in line. That’s his most important role, and it’s one that the NRA can’t just farm out to a marketing agency.

      • And, I would add, started the decline into irrelevancy of Obama’s second term. Obama was coasting from one “success” to another… until he decided to lock horns with the NRA.

        After that, Obama can’t point to a single success in his second term.

        Not even the Congressional Republicans can make that claim.

      • And that has something to do with appealing to new demographics how? The NRA is an excellent lobby right now but it is also a terrible PR machine. Keep the lobby, retool the marketing.

        • Well, the NRA is retooling it’s marketing. That’s why they hired ColionNoir among others to be effective front men and women, speaking to a younger demographic.

        • Here’s an idea for those who want “fresh marketing” of gun rights to younger, hipper, urban-centered masses: Form your own organization. Why try to remake an existing organization filled with people you claim to dislike into catering to your desires?

          What’s to stop you? You’ve got the internet, modern, nearly frictionless fund-raising infrastructure, slick multimedia generated on computers, etc at your disposal. All tools that the NRA is too slow in adopting, according to many here. Why send your money into the NRA when you can divert that same money into forming a new organization?

          • I couldn’t agree more. Why waste your (presumably) limited membership funds on an organization which fails miserably to support your best interests?

            That sounds stupid to me. Instead, why not join JPFO, GOA, or the Second Amendment Foundation, all of whom do a much better job of supporting your best interests? Or, if you can afford it, all of them?

        • You two realize that the topic under discussion is *how* the NRA could appeal to a wider demographic, right? Not whether it should. In any event, the NRA does more than enough for me to be worth the cost of membership, and what I do with my money (after Uncle Sam’s finished fleecing me) is thankfully still my own business.

        • This is precisely what I did – not extending my NRA membership this year, but giving all that money to SAF and CCRKBA instead. However, having a single, truly non-partisan organization that represents all gun owners is more efficient than several smaller groups.

  10. Well, for one, they can stop blaming things like Mortal Kombat and Natural Born Killers whenever a kid shoots up a school.

      • +2

        But that’s a symptom of the disease. OFWGs don’t play nor understand video games so (in their minds) that is a safe go-to.

        • I frequently see Fudds on leftist message boards make comments to the effect of, “Well, I don’t have an AR-15 or semiautomatic handgun, so it’s fine by me if we ban them”. Then Wayne blames violent videogames for school shootings, and says we need to do something about them.

          Same mindset.

    • Seriously. They have no idea how retarded they sounded to anybody under 30 when that was where they looked to lay the blame after Newton. Blaming videogames and violent movies makes as much sense as blaming guns.

      • I’m find it hard to believe that video games like School Shooter and School Shooting could have anything to do with school shooters and school shootings, even though School Shooting was Adam Lanza’s script. A shooting script, as it were.

      • That’s precisely what pushed me over the edge when deciding to not renew my NRA membership. I can tolerate a lot of bullshit from an organization that exists to defend one of my rights, but one thing that is plainly unacceptable is attacking another fundamental right.

    • I would recommend looking up the research on that one. There is actually significant research in the area of the influence of violent video games. It’s interesting that the research doesn’t see the light of day because both sides of the gun debate don’t have any interest in looking at the possible conclusions which are extremely damning, very statistically significant, and just plain scary once the daily diet of video games goes above a certain number of hours. Also, think about the fact that the armed forces uses these video games now too.

      True, at anything under four hours a day, violent video games have no impact. Look at what happens at higher levels though.

      • IMO, if people are playing video games for more than 4 hours a day, the problem isn’t the video games, the problem is that they are doing NOTHING ELSE. They need to get out and do SOMETHING with other people, whether it’s go to the gym, go play organized sports, go watch a movie, go hang out at a cheap diner, go bowling, go shoot pool … it doesn’t matter. Just go do something else.

        Basically what I would suggest is that the problem is that they don’t have enough direct social interaction with other people. Being on a computer or game system all the time is unhealthy, regardless of what one is doing with it.

        • The “direct social interaction” is wanting because too many people who are hardcore gamers are asocial human beings. They spend their waking hours (and some they should be sleeping) gaming. They are socially awkward, and gaming appeals to the socially awkward.

  11. In large part, it don’t know if it is possible. Oh, we can make advances at the margins to be sure…but there’s a fundamental difference in the mindset of the average dweller in a large city vs. one in rural America. Most people in large cities are collectivists, looking to the State for solutions. While there are individualists in every metropolis, they’re far outnumbered by those who want to be protected by others rather than rely on themselves.

    The best stratagem may be to appeal to those who are already “in our camp”, so to speak, but who haven’t joined pro-gun groups yet. We’re never going to get a majority of those in NYC or San Francisco to support constitutional carry or vote for those who do.

    • those who want to be protected by others rather than rely on themselves

      I think that’s a fundamental reason why human beings built cities in the first place, and why people still congregate there.

      The people that live in the heart of major urban centers are absolutely dependent on being taken care of, on every level. I’m not much for apocalyptic talk, but if there was ever a major infrastructure collapse the people in the inner cities would have almost no hope. No food, no water….and no means to get it themselves. The corner apartment on the 33rd floor might sound nice, right up until the corner supermarket runs out of food….

      • Have you read the book, “One Second After”? It describes the aftermath of an EMP attack on the United States which disables virtually anything which uses electronics. One year later, the major cities of the eastern coast of the United States have a survival rate of less than 1%.

        • Yeah. That sounds about right; diminishing groups of predators will prey upon others. As the others vanish, they will begin to prey upon themselves. What remains will be increasingly manageable, but what will there be to manage them?

        • In this particular case, our military forces which were overseas at the time of the attack start showing up some months later…but when looking over the apocalyptic remains of the East Coast, there’s no point in going in…so they begin looking for communities further inland that have at least partially survived.

      • This may sound foolish to some, but so be it. I have read an average of four to five books a week for more than fifty years now. I cannot imagine living anywhere without easy access to AT LEAST one large urban type library.

        Perhaps easier for most to understand – Due to medical issues it’s doubtful I would survive long without immediate access to a major hospital. I can think of three episodes in the last five years when a half-hour delay getting to the emergency room would have been fatal.

        When you add access to live music, art, and other amenities, you should be able to agree that there are reasons to live in the city that don’t involve dependence on government handouts, or any of the other criticism given above.

        • When you add access to live music, art, and other amenities, you should be able to agree that there are reasons to live in the city that don’t involve dependence on government handouts, or any of the other criticism given above.

          To each their own; medical issues aside, I have all of the advantages you listed while still living 30 miles away from a large city simply by commuting.

        • When I say that inner city high rise dwellers are dependent I’m speaking to the basic necessities: food, water, shelter. Shelter they have covered. But if something were to shut down the city water supply and/or the shipping lanes that bring in food they have no recourse.

          They MAY be able to make due with a nearby water supply for a short time before it starts looking like the Ganges. And there is absolutely NO WAY a city like New York or Chicago could grow enough food/raise enough livestock to feed the citizens.

        • I hope your library is better than the one near me. There would seem to be no amount of proof of residence to satisfy them. It’s as if they were in the business of keeping people from memberships. I finally gave up. They do not seem to want people to use their facility.

          What an effing disgrace. It’s too bad; it’s a nice facility, with a lake and a fountain. Whenever I’ve been by, the place is virtually empty. Books for nobody.

        • To Hal J. – Anywhere within thirty miles of where I live is still metro area. It’s more like a fifty mile drive if you’re really looking for rural or small town life. Country folks get used to driving long distances for everything, something I’d rather not do, if possible. From where I live it’s ten minutes to the central county library, five minutes to the Kirkwood library, fifteen to the city main branch. Between them they own more material than any hundred small town libraries. The other issue is the NATURE of the library’s holdings. I don’t read best sellers, thrillers, cop stories, or self help books, which seem to make up the bulk of the choices in small local libraries. I don’t expect anyone else to understand this, but books are one of the most important things in my life.

          To William Burke – Sorry you have had so many problems. None of the library systems mentioned above asked for anything but a drivers license and a utility bill to show residence. I suspect you’re dealing with a private non-profit co-op type system rather than a public library.

          • Thanks, Leadbelly. But no, it’s the Tuckahoe Branch of the Henrico (VA) County Public Library. Assholes.

            I’m walking over there the next warm day and try once more. I have a license, but they always want recent mail, and nothing ever seems recent enough for them. Like I’m running a coast-to-coast scam stealing library books.

            By the way, I don’t drive, but I went to renew my state ID on the last day before it expired, and the DMV issued me a driver’s license by mistake!

        • They MAY be able to make due with a nearby water supply for a short time before it starts looking like the Ganges. And there is absolutely NO WAY a city like New York or Chicago could grow enough food/raise enough livestock to feed the citizens.

          A successful EMP attack on the United States would kill at least 75% of the population after a year. The death rate in the metropolises of the East Coast would approach (and possibly exceed) 99%.

          • Yeah, who needs zombies when you’ve got starving, raping marauders?

            But you’d be surprised how much foot could be raised on rooftop gardens. Livestock, not so much.

      • This.

        Most urbanites have no idea how tenuous their existence is. When one is old enough to remember the New York City blackout of 1977, one understands what a thin veneer of civilization covers the urban situation.

        • I remember the ’65 blackout. I was in college at the time. Because transit was out, I had to shack up with a girl I hardly knew crash at school. It was such a horrible experience that I was hoping for another one to happen immediately.

        • As a kid growing up just outside of Cheyenne in the 60s, I remember the power going out for days at a time during snowstorms. Fortunately we had a gas cooking stove that proved reliable, but we heated the house with the fireplace and occasionally cooked with it. Both of my parents grew up on farms in the Depression, so we always had an ample supply of food on hand, and could melt snow for water once we ran out of what was stored.

          Now I live in the big city, and making it past a week or two would be a problem. People today don’t realize that given just in time inventory, most grocery stores would run out in a few days without deliveries.

      • Are you familiar with what happened to Rome after the Empire finally fell? The maintenence on the aqueducts stopped and eventually they came down. Once they were gone, Rome, which had at one time been a city of a million people, dwindled to less than twenty thousand.

    • WHat happens to your little theory when it has to face the reality of the fact that those in rural areas take far more federal subsidies than those that live in cities?

      Reality is exactly the opposite of your perception.

      • Because the rural areas are where the Feebs stick the prisons, military bases, and other undesirable things.

        • Which they have managed to convince the locals are good things. “But JOBS!!” It’s only because the really desirable employment has emigrated to third world nations.

      • Not to mention Indian reservations, national parks, US Forest Service lands, BLM lands, national monuments, federal defense labs, US military reservations…

        I’d love to see military bases in the middle of downtown NYC. Why should millions of acres of nice hunting ground be withdrawn from public use here in the west, when the majority of the people the military is supposed to be defending are in the urban eastern cities? Plow down some of those blighted areas and put in the runways for strategic bombers there, not in Utah, the Dakotas, etc.

        What’s that? B-52’s produce too much smoke on during take-off? What, that would take out too much real estate in those urban areas? Well then, how about we re-locate the nuclear strategic missile bases into cities? They’re quiet, peaceful neighbors with a small real estate impact. If you want to see what they look like, drive a bit north of I-80 on I-25 through Cheyenne, Wyoming. There’s a strategic missile base right there in one of our two largest cities in Wyoming. It would look a lot like Central Park if you re-located it into the Bronx or Queens.

        • After you removed it. I like your idea. “But… JOBS!!!!”

          People who live in the area have few options, because “but JOBS” have moved overseas.

  12. By shoving things like “World History 101” and, you know, facts, in their collective face politely and consistently when the personal safety argument fails to gain traction (“It won’t happen to me/I don’t know anyone who has needed a gun”). We the People of the Gun know the facts – and the facts show that the little people have been stepped on by those in positions of power since the beginning of recorded history and indeed through to the present day in all corners of the map.

    And possibly/ideally not even using the “registration = delayed confiscation” arguments, even though that is also a fact. (see: California) Unfortunately, this specific talking point smacks of paranoia to most (usually well-educated) but liberal-leaning suburbanites and upper-middle class urban dwellers (I’m honestly not sure why, but that’s the way it is).

    The record of human civilization shows that “the powers that be” consistently aggregate and retain any power to be obtained from their subjects (see: World History 101) and this is the apparent and indeed simple, highly rational logic behind the 2nd Amendment. While the founding fathers were indeed OFWGs, they were universally well-educated and highly rational men. It is one part of our Constitution that is most admirable for its simplicity and effect via design in a document emulated (for good reason) for the past several centuries around the world.

    Use simple to complex factual (rather than scare tactic) education to appeal to the higher (in reference to complexity of thought only) brain used by many of these folks on a daily basis in their working lives.

    We pin our collective hopes for retention of the American ideal on consistent reeducation using the considerable and intelligent resources we have, either way.

    Let’s do a bang-up good job of it, because the alternatives suck.

  13. Lead with facts, not ideology. It drives me crazy that simple statistics are squarely on the side of responsible gun ownership, but the NRA continually focuses on debatable ideological points that alienate anyone who doesn’t agree with their (lopsided, hostile, scare-mongering) view of the political landscape. It’s idiotic. I completely agree that voting Democrat is tantamount to getting on your knees and begging for more gun control. But everyone – EVERYONE – has made up their mind on that front already. If you can’t even get dedicated gun enthusiasts to quit voting Democrat because they can’t stand Republicans, how are you going to build support that way in the suburbs and urban areas? Every person who sleeps in their home at night with no weapon in the house, planning to call the cops to come save them in the event of a break-in, anyone who willfully decides to take no measures to protect themselves and their families, should be made to feel like a negligent fool by a clear, consistent presentation of facts. Just like smoke detectors, just like fire extinguishers, just like bicycle helmets. That is the presentation that has women and new shooters flooding into gun stores, and it should be the presentation the NRA uses to expand their reach. If they want to be aggressively partisan, that should be restricted to the lobbying arm, and the hard pitch for money on that basis should be restricted to those who are all in.

    • They feel forced into voting for Democrats because the RNC persists in nominating warty mugwumps, instead of the candidates people want, or would want, anyway, if they were ever presented with politicians they find actually represent their better interests.

  14. Logically, the cities should be where firearms culture and training are most prevalent, due to the crime issues. However, logic doesn’t always work. I live in Miami, and I’m shocked at the amount of anti-gunners in the city.

    And yes, there is a cultural divide. The urban dwellers view People of the Gun as being a bunch of beer-swilling good ol’ boys with values at odds with their own. Other than my close friends, whenever I mention my ownership and carrying of firearms, most urban dwellers throw me in the bin with Yosemite Sam.

    What I think the NRA needs to do is actually hire or outsource to a professional advertising company that can create a campaign for the urban-dwelling demographic. The emphasis should be on situations and firearms that would be practical in an urban environment. Deer hunting isn’t something an urban dweller can identify with – self-defense and defending the lives of loved ones is.

      • Finally, the reply-to-a-reply function came up for me!

        I’m the sort that doesn’t fall for slick advertising campaigns – but most of my urban-dwelling friends are. Style it up with a sort of minimal-futurist theme and present younger men and women utilizing firearms. It’s like the cheesy part of the new Robocop movie (don’t ask…) where they have a social media guy managing Robocop’s Facebook profiles and so on. The NRA needs a social media/urban-dwelling whiz kid.

        The new NRA campaign is below:

        n r a

        /bad attempt at humor

    • Both Kansas City and St Louis have entrenched Democrat political machines. They might as well call Emmanuel Cleaver “Congressman for Life” – they’ll never get that guy out of office (unless they can make a corruption charge stick, and it would have to be federal). The KC school district is unaccredited. Many of the voters were educated in that district and are unqualified for anything more than an entry level job as a result – they are going to vote to keep the government checks coming. I can’t speak to St Louis media, but the media in Kansas City seems generally hostile to the RKBA. Specifically, the Kansas City Star frequently prints articles demanding the curtailment of protected rights. The Mayor of KC is a member of MAIG who advocates civilian disarmament. The public never hears about good guys with guns, but hears constantly about gang bangers committing crimes with them. The overall tone of the discussion is hostile to gun owners.

    • Some people still dont care about self defense and what have you…

      However, you know what would severely appeal to the young crowd? IPSC / USPSA. If they can broadcast and promote that awesome shooting sport along with 3-gun and what have you, and show people in urban environments that they can do something other than hunt or shoot at paper with firearms, I bet you’d get a huge increase in ownership from the young people.. Especially all the COD players.

      • +1

        The sporting aspect of firearms extends well beyond taking game and shooting clays.

        The question is getting ranges, into the cities. Honestly the NRA should be handing grant money out to cities with abandoned industrial complexes to turn them into urban shooting sports complexes.

    • They actually DO use ad agencies to make their ads. The problem is that the NRA is not asking them for hard-hitting ads that will make a difference. Again, the problem is the NRA Board, who are out of touch with what the electorate wants.

      And the electorate is continually presented with bogus candidates.

  15. holy smoke ive been to poplar bluff its a damn small city well compared to the one in tennessee i live in any who thats just amazing that with a town that size and the number of members

  16. Problem number one: The NRA has to develop minority relevance. The very folks who need guns the most are denied them due to cultural anti gun agitprop . When you’re a black resident of urban St. Louis and a leading voice in your community says the NRA is the American answer to Al Qeida, it puts a damper on telling your family what your weekend plans are. The situations pretty dire – to this day my family is unaware of my status as an NRA member, because theyve bought into the Democratic Partys line that gun violence is the fault of white men sending guns into the ghetto. Add in the occasional Obama sound byte about “gun violence” , and it makes the NRA out to be some kind of Illuminati style successor to the KKK as far as urbanites are concerned.

    We have to break that cultural chain , and the things the NRA can do are IMO the following.

    Get an urban outreach program in place which has NOTHNG TO DO WITH GUNS. Get some cash together and fund an inner city after school program .A lot of orgs will say no. Keep going until one says yes, and when you do….leave the gun politics out. Just reach out to kids in urban centers of America for after school stuff, anti drugs and anti gang activism, etc. The political sound bytes won’t go very far when the average black family is sending their kids to a college/inner city youth program/ high school/ middle school funded by the NRA.

    Next ,once the NRAs repaired their image , start specific gun related education programs not directly attached to the other ones I’ve mentioned. With a population in every city properly educated in how firearms REALLY work, they’ll start seeing through the “ghost gun” BS when some slick talker in a suit runs their yap.De Leon has a job in CA because most of his constituents don’t know an AR15 from a can opener.

    Just some thoughts from a biracial NRA member.Hope this helps.

    • That makes a lot of sense.

      Just thinking out loud here: There’s a school choice movement underway. No one benefits more from school choice than minority kids in bad districts. If there were some way the NRA could get in on that, maybe help fund some vouchers or charter schools as the big charitable foundations do. They’d likely say no too, but who knows?

  17. You get NRA Instructors,gun shops,large sporting retailers, manufacturers, as well as gun ranges and anyone else involved in the firearms trade to support you.Not a bad Idea to get a gun friendly marketing firm to help!

  18. Actually, most fraternal organizations in large cities are suffering large declines. Net/net, It’s a result of the recent “diversity” codswallop in the media.

    There was a paper that came out in the last several years that showed that large urban areas with the “diversity” push basically kill the old fraternal organizational meetings and volunteerism. Doesn’t much matter if you’re talking of the Elks, Masonic Lodge, NRA or many other civic organizations. I’ll try to find it in my pile of papers…

    • Was that Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone”? If so, I know that he tried really hard to obscure the fact that cultural and ethnic diversity plus proximity leads to anomie and conflict.

      • Elks graze and raise their young. Masons work with bricks and stone. Duh!(Damn, I wish I knew how to make one of those smiley face icons)

      • Lots of charitable work, scholarships, volunteer hours. The Elks invest much of their time and money at local levels, with some national efforts for vets.

        The Shriners, who run 20+ children’s hospitals around the country, are Masons. Local Masonic temples do lots of other, more localized charitable work.

        There are many other historic fraternal organizations besides just these two. The IOOF, Rotary, JayCees, Knights of Columbus, Moose Lodge, are other examples.

        • Well, for many, volunteering and charity work is fun. The volunteer work I do with young people and on the local fire department is fun, at least for me. If it weren’t, I’d find some other pursuits.

          The Shriners carry it a tad further than most others. You won’t see too many Elks, Odd Fellows or Moose members riding around in the local parades with funny hats on little scooters, but I’m sure it isn’t drudgery for them.

  19. Throw a party the urbanites will actually want to attend?

    Maybe Colion Noir can help with some tips, haha.

  20. You point out the fact that most inner-city shootings go unsolved. The cops don’t want to be there and respond only after the fact when a crime has been committed. Every honest citizen is a target to gangbangers and thugs because they have been disarmed by the very government that promises to protect them. Thus, their basic human rights have been taken away. I know it’s easier said than done, especially in Democrat run cities such as Chicago where the Republican party doesn’t even exist.

  21. A lot of the language used here and on other gun boards can come across as offensive (esp if it follows the anti-obama mantra (ie, he is not a citizen, he is kenyan, etc) that demeans him as the first black president. Hell I am a black republican and life member of the nra and I know I am one of less than 100, but sometimes, people need to let the facts speak rather than slogans.

    Be that as it may, the real key is the history of the NRA and why it was founded. Let’s stop surrendering why the organization was created to the antis. In fact, when I (patiently) explain to my fellow urbanites about the nra, well, their eyes get opened. When I explain how my bride and a number of women, mainly black, like to do a sista/girlfriend trip to the range several times per month, they are intrigued. When I show the racist roots of gun control and how those who advocate it have protection afforded to them, they get outraged. So yes, personal education is key.

    And sorry, but wayne lapierre needs to retire. We need a younger face (or faces) in nra leadership who exhibit the real diversity of the sport. I hate to argue this but the nra suffers from an image problem that only focusing on diversity will cure.

    • +3 for marketing revamp and new personnel selections.

      Without many more younger people appreciating the Roles of the Gun in our history, society, and culture, the grabbers view it as just a matter of time until they can collect the necessary number of votes to ensure passage of nationwide disarmament legislation.

    • Wayne looks like the kind of guy who would have his butler shoot his gun for him. That’s not a good thing.

    • And yet another comment saying that we need feet on the ground — real people — actually reaching out to their community. Ask any marketing guru and they will tell you that word-of-mouth is much more powerful than any marketing campaign.

      As some here have pointed out, many people look for someone else to fix problems — urbanites included. And yet, while We the People of the gun criticize urbanites for depending on someone else to fix their problems, we the people of the gun are looking for the NRA to fix our problem — which is government desire to infringe our rights. We the people have to fix it ourselves. And that means reaching out ourselves to our community.

  22. I’d probably start by not having dinner fundraisers in wallpaper and brass festooned banquet halls. I can’t think of anything more white bread and boring than that, and less appealing to younger, not even to say younger urban people.

      • …who actually control the country and massively benefit whether it works well for the vast majority of the population or not.

        FIFY, unless your post was sarcasm, I suppose.

        • The DQ franchisees and hardware store owners in those small towns are controlling the country?? Are the folks in that photo wearing top hats and monocles?

    • They WANT the rich old white people at the fundraiser. That’s the whole point. We need the young (broke) people at the ballot box.

    • Now that is a true story! But it is the established ways of get-togethers …. attended my 30th HS reunion last summer. It was the same sort of event. They are sort of comfortable albeit boring and old and tired.

    • I went to an organizing meeting for the NRA fundraising dinner and auction in my area about a year ago. Met with the outreach person, sat through the presentation, gave them my contact information and volunteered my time for anything they needed.

      Never heard a peep out of them until I saw the invitation for the limited seat banquet and silent auction.
      Stuff like that does not leave a good taste.

  23. Dip into the endowment and start building nra staffed urban gun ranges. Operate them at a loss if you have to, but make it convenient for urban gun owners to get together and network.

    Hire a new communications director to keep Wayne off of the tv. I don’t care if he stays on as VP, but don’t let him speak to the media.

    Stop vilifying gray-market gun owners. It seems like after every tragedy the nra trots out the old standby line “we dont need more gun laws, we should focus on enforcing the existing laws.” The existing laws in most urban areas are unconstitutional bullish*t, and if someone circumvented those laws in order to protect themselves, more power to ’em. Stop the public support for unconstitutional laws that disproportionately disenfranchise urban, and usually minority, gun owners.

    • I really, really like the (public) urban gun range idea. Make it cool, trendy, hip, (and mostly easy) to practice using firearms properly.

      Old or unused warehouses/factories are perfect for this sort of thing – some may even come with air handling equipment already installed, and makes having decent lane distances cake.

        • In my opinion it starts with color scheme, lighting, and layout. Next, provide furniture so people can actually sit around (comfortably) and visit. And make sure you provide fast Internet access for those people. Finally, provide beverages and snacks and maybe even quality food. Make the range an appealing destination for the entire evening rather than some place you go to shoot at a piece of paper for 30 minutes and then leave. Oh, and speaking of, provide targets that are interesting rather than a bunch of concentric circles … and maybe even one lane with moving targets.

          Having just described all this, I think I now have the basis for an interesting business plan. Contact me directly if you want to go further.

        • I’ll try to indirectly answer this.

          When I lived in Chicago a decade ago, I was invited by some friends to join a bowling league. I did, even though I fit your description below of being a young libertarian who is not a “joiner”. That’s changing as I age a little, but was definitely the case then. Anyway, I was shocked at how many people go bowling regularly in a dense urban area. Maybe not as many as there used to be, but still a lot. I’m sure some people were there having “ironic” fun, but the fact remains that bowling is fun.

          As we all know, shooting is fun too. It’s also serious, and we need to be mindful of that, but mostly I have fun when I’m out shooting. I see no reason why urban gun clubs couldn’t be holding leagues, tournaments, etc to grow the base of shooters in those areas. Whether they join the nra or not is largely irrelevant. What we need to do is normalize gun usage in the minds of more people, and use that to counter the “othering” of gun owners in gun-control propaganda.

          I think the nra’s role would to be applying their legal and financial resources to removing zoning barriers and buying up prime spots that the average gun range owner simply wouldn’t have the resources for. The joy of shooting can take care of the rest.

        • Jack is right.

          Make the ranges like bowling alleys. Perhaps not so much on the booze (unless there would be a way to enact a strict limit after shooting). But mostly create an animated yet comfortable environment.

          But yes – WiFi, good coffee, gift/gear shop that has decent products instead of trinkets and babules on the non-range side, and expansive and varied with the lanes on the range side. Moving targets, lots of distance options; an indoor 3-gun range (even to include some vertically-offset targets) could be a possibility with the amount of still-vacant warehouse and factory space after the Great Recession. Don’t forget to include classrooms for education and DIY courses and space for your resident gunsmiths.

          And solar panels. Don’t forget solar panels on that giant, flat roof. Say what you will about global warming, but it’s us young folks who are gonna be stuck with your messes. And oh-by-the-way it usually makes excellent business sense too.

          If you, dear reader, make it rich off of this business plan, it’d be sweet to at least get a job out of it. I’d work at the above range in a heartbeat.

        • And how much are you folks willing to pay for range time at such an establishment?

          Mind you, I see the financial reports at our local club. I know pretty well what it takes to keep an establishment with a fraction of what you want open (50′ indoor range, nothing over 1300′ fps, full kitchen, dining/meeting area, outdoor ranges with key access, etc). We charge $2 for members to shoot at the indoor range, $10 for non-members. RSO must be present, obviously, and those RSO’s are all volunteers and are paid absolutely nothing. There is no retail on-site, the kitchen is opened only during special events, and we have nice, comfortable restrooms for both men and women.

          In winters like this one, we’re losing money just on the heating costs alone, but we’re making up for it in trap range fees in the other three seasons. If next winter has any more of this “global warming” that we’re having this winter (-27F at night for a week solid here and there, not to mention howling wind and snow), we’ll likely have to double range fees for members just to keep the propane coming.

        • As I said in my original post, these ranges would probably operate at a loss. I just figured that might be an acceptable use of some of the NRA’s budget in the interests of expanding and normalizing gun ownership.

          I realize doing something like this would likely be cost prohibitive for a private owner; but maybe the NRA, with its deep pockets and national base of support to draw from, is the right man for the job.

  24. Heavily market to women, minority and gay populations.

    I don’t think you’ll make much headway against the liberal white elite in cities, until they get mugged, but minority groups in a city, whatever the type, likely have more reason than some to want to be informed about all of their civil rights and how to exercise them.

    So help them get the information and get them out to the sports clubs and ranges with educational classes tailored to their concerns.

    My 2 cents.

    Keep the change. 🙂

  25. Appeal to the libertarian nature of 20-somethings and 30-somethings. Don’t ask them to vote for establishment parties. But, unfortunately voting for establishment parties is the practical way to protect rights in the proximal sense. The whole game is wired.

    • One of the attributes I see in the young(er) libertarians is that they’re not “joiners.” Doesn’t matter the group, they don’t join membership organizations. Their generational perspective isn’t just libertarian, it is individualistic, and they form loose associations, not “organizations.”

      At the first hint of bureaucracy that is the hallmark of most all organizations, the younger libertarians are gone.

      I attribute this to getting screwed over in a big economic way by the older generations. They were told to “go to college and get a well-paid job.” Well, that isn’t panning out. They were told to get a job in a big company. Whoops, they’re laid off as their jobs were outsourced. Join the military? Sure, and get sent out to extended deployments for wars that the Ivy Leaguers will promptly lose when they become politically inconvenient to win.

      I can’t fault the younger people for their perspective. I coach them frequently on matters financial and career oriented. Their cynicism is well and deeply justified.

      • +1

        At least some of your generation is starting to figure that out.

        We’re jaded because we got handed a big bag of sh!t with some silver mixed in and were told it was gold.

        • Hey, don’t blame me.

          I’ve been telling young people since the late 90’s that getting a make-believe degree in some nonsensical liberal arts/humanities concentration was going to have limited economic prospects. The student debt situation has exploded beyond even my worst imagination on the topic, and still the clowns in DC (and in academia) keep peddling their idiotic nostrums and promises.

          Now I have to tell kids that STEM degrees might not lead them to success either. They need to set their sights on skills that people will pay for – handsomely – in the middle of the night, if necessary. eg, Being a plumber isn’t a bad gig. Same deal with being a lineman for a utility. They can buy those fancy books that they would have read in the humanities departments for $10 used on Amazon and read them in their free time. They won’t have a sheepskin, but they’ll have a paycheck, and that counts for a lot more in life.

          After seeing 10 years of data after NAFTA, I became an anti-free-trade campaigner – based on the export of jobs, stagnating wages and rampant IP theft.

          I’m one of the people who has the gonads to tell kids the unvarnished truth – and it sometimes results in parents shrieking at me. The parents, of course, would dearly love little Johnny to just get out of their house. I have to explain to the parents that Johnny won’t be going anywhere but their sofa if he’s got a MA in Feminist Literature and $60K in debt.

        • A STEM degree does not guarantee a cushy job, but no degree does. It’s not a magic scroll that opens doors at workplaces and makes the HR guys who glance over your resume suddenly become entranced.

          OTOH, a STEM degree is not strictly necessary for an engineering job. Especially in software development, if you’re genuinely good, there’s still more job offers than candidates, at least in cities where that industry is thriving.

          • ” It’s not a magic scroll that opens doors at workplaces and makes the HR guys who glance over your resume suddenly become entranced.”

            That’s what fraternities are supposedly for.

            But, like Mark Twain, I didn’t want any part of any organization that would have me as a member.

  26. Start holding events, things like shooing days at local ranges where people can try shooting a variety of firearms. Free classes and seminars in the urban centers. Start a grass roots effort in the minority communities by first reaching out to the local church leaders and non-governmental clubs to try and find some youth who would be interested in learning more about the sport of shooting. Partner with the NAACP and get some college students interested. Stuff like that.
    The NRA is going to have to spend some money in order to drive up their membership in certain areas and demographics if they want to increase their presence. Show people that the NRA is truly all-inclusive unlike most of the organizations that are fighting them.

    • For an extra bonus, tie it in to the video games that everyone is playing from 15 through 45. Call of Duty Day would have a pretty wide audience.

      I recall that the last Games Development Conference had a field trip for game journalists to go play paintball. Why not talk to Activision and see if they would like to host a range day with the hardware from their games?

  27. You can legally arm every inner-city dweller in America and they will still not support the NRA.

    The racial arsonists will always be able to persuade black people that if they join the NRA, they’re Uncle Toms and not really black.

    The champagne socialists who lead the Democrat party will also be able to persuade weak-minded white people that if they join the NRA, they’re racists.

    The vast majority of women will continue to be scared sh1tless at the very thought of a gun nearby.

    Children will continue to be expelled or suspended from schools if they chew a Pop Tart in a suspicious manner.

    City cops will always view licensed carriers as enemies to be shot when possible.

    In short, every city in America is a Detroit waiting to happen. Just like New York’s Gov. Mussolini said, there’s no room in that equation for the NRA.

    • I think you’re right about the majority but there is a rise in the number and visibility of blacks, women, minorities and inner city people waking up and starting to smell the coffee.

      They are there, they just need encouragement and prodding to bring their neighbors and friends along, too.

      • Join the NRA and have the head of the NAACP call someone an Uncle Tom and a sock puppet?

        There will always be people like Kenn Blanchard, Roy Innes, Karl Malone and James Earl Jones who will stand up to the pressure. But most won’t. Can’t.

        • Ralph,

          I think what you described is spot on in the Northeast and urban California. However, as Mina points out, there is a huge storm brewing in the middle of the country. That event in Chicago was stunning. (If you have not watched the video, drop whatever you are doing and watch it.) And in Detroit, the new Police Chief is actually encouraging city residents to get concealed carry licenses — and the residents are doing it. (I believe Detroit has led the nation in justifiable homicides for the last two or three years.)

          I know that the end result of communist and Progressive policy is massive systemic failure. As it turns out, more and more people in our nation who are seeing that failure first hand and living through it are beginning to ask some serious questions. There is hope believe it or not.

        • @uncommon_sense, I do have hope. But when I see the NAACP — my NAACP, a moderate and thoughtful organization that I supported for many years — being run into the ground by a raving lunatic who thinks it’s appropriate to call one black man an “Uncle Tom” and a “sock puppet,” and call out the second black Justice of the Supreme Court for having a white wife, I wonder why I have any hope at all.

  28. As a St. Louis area resident and new NRA member (since april of 2013) all I have received from the NRA after joining, is countless renewal notices (as in around two per month) and insurance or donation letters. Nothing about Friends of the NRA, or the upcoming Bianchi Cup in Columbia Missouri. In fact, I had to email Jim Scouten (SP) of Shooting USA to find out if it was open to the public (which it is). It seems that once they get you to join, their main concern and priority is to get you to renew, or buy their products, not spend some of their millions on education, lawsuits and useful information to fight the good fight against the lies of the anti gun folks.

    And I agree with fellow commenters, WLP needs to be replaced by someone who is not an OFWG (which I am one) and someone who can articulate and explain our side without alienating the fence straddlers. The far left, gun haters will never change their views.

  29. Why can’t the NRA have different spokespersons delivering the same message in a way that is tailored to the target audience. La Pierre for some, Noir for others ,Raso too. Penn and Teller do a great job in defending 2A. The current stable of NRA commentators need to be used more broadly in an effort to reach those who identify with the messenger as well as the message. A video on the NRA website isn’t cutting it.
    If the NRA is interested in reaching out, perhaps they should obtain a copy of Saul Alinsky’s 20 Rules for Radicals. It’s a beautiful thing when you can out maneuver your opposition using a version of their tactics. Sadly, the NRA has demonstrated the same inability to respond to the opposition in a timely manner that I’ve come to expect from the GOP. Too little , too late.

  30. The Friends of NRA events almost always sell out. If the folks in St. Louis plan for 200 instead of 1000 they will never get more than 200.

  31. Image:

    I can only speak for the one anti-gun big city I know well. That being said, a one-size-fits-all approach to converting city-dwellers is flawed because each city has it’s own problems. But basically the NRA doesn’t understand city living and city living doesn’t understand the NRA. I’m generalizing here in the interest of saving time because I’ve had these conversations with city-dwellers in NYC. The NRA is a damaged brand in most major cities for a variety of reasons (mostly the press). They are routinely (unfairly) linked to crime inside cities by local politicians. Local politicians (because they don’t really want to address the actual issues of crime) point to the NRA as the “reason” for criminals obtaining guns “so easily” outside the invisible barriers of gun control encompassing the city. Just look at Bloomberg’s constant finger-pointing to places like North Carolina and West Virginia as the “reason” why guns flow into the city. The press not only plays along, but encourages this line of thinking because it follows their ideological bias. Those are the basic, abet large, obstacles to overcome. Other obstacles (again due to bigoted press coverage) to overcome are the labeling of rural gun owners and urban gun-rights supporters as unsympathetic “racists” and everything that goes along with that stereotype.

    City groups:

    Unlike many rural areas, cities are not homogeneous areas. They have many different groups (usually in subdivided mini-cities) of people from all races, creeds, and ethnicities. Sometimes those groups are at odds with each other and “peace” is only maintained by one group being able to “turn the other cheek” more often than the other. There are good people (scared people) in the higher crime areas that have been fed the same propaganda for decades. Many of them are tired of it (as seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jzo9lCBYzA4 ) but they aren’t about to overcome these powerful political machines on their own. As many here have previously said: If voting did anything, it would have been banned years ago. Much of the change has to come from inside the different groups (which is by far the biggest challenge).

    (Side note: there is always a quazi-homogeneous group of progressives that occupy one or more sections of the city. They overcome their differences not by tolerance, but by having a common enemy to blame.)

    Solutions:

    The NRA has made some progress with the faces of their organization. For example, by putting Colion Noir on their news team they have gotten their message out to people they might not have reached 2 years ago. More diversity is necessary. Partnering with the JPFO and the Pink Pistols in city informational programs could be a good avenue for that goal.

    The biggest thing that the NRA can currently do is examine how they frame the argument to those in high crime inner city areas. The NRA focuses on arming the “good guys” in order to face the “bad guys”. It’s a simplistic line of thinking (though one which I agree with most of the time) that doesn’t address the high crime city realities when someone’s cousin is the bad guy and is living next door to the good guy. Listening to average people in these high crime areas, you can see they want career-orientated jobs. There are many skilled jobs that are in high demand all over the country. If the NRA called out the various politicians that claim “guns are the problem” with average inner-city voices crying for “skilled labor”, you force the politicians and “community organizers” to put their money where their mouth is. If the politicos try and turn the argument around somehow, point to groups like Mike Rowe Works as organizations the politicians can pair with in order to bring labor training into their areas. Again, leave them nowhere to go after calling them out.

    The biggest problem with winning over city-dwellers is that no one approach will work and most crime problems that have been unfairly linked to guns will have to be solved from within the community. The only thing the NRA might have going for them in this approach, as outlined above, is that a lot of people are tired of hearing the same BS lines over and over again. If you can successfully link the authoritarian progressives with the “control” in gun control, you might have a beachhead of your own.

  32. Open, friendly, and inclusive. That’s about it.

    Oh, and get Wayne an ecollar so you can correct him when he starts getting verbal diarrhea.

    • Wayne is too limp wristed for my taste. Larry Pratt at GOA is a much better speaker – takes a position and holds it like iron. Speaks forcefuly and denigrates his opposition appropriately when deserved.

  33. I live in a large metro area with quite a few liberals. Our gun ranges are pretty packed and you may have to wait for a hour just to get a lane. Most of the shooters there are under 30 but yet many are not members of any gun rights organizations. True the NRA is doing a better job with using social media, but I think you need younger people being the face of the NRA, not that I disagree with LaPierre. I would love to see Colion Noir or Josie The Outlaw handle NRA public relations.

  34. Friendly advice from a card-carrying NRA member and inner city resident.

    When courting urbanites emphasize concealed carry. De-emphasize hunting. Don’t apologize, just de-emphasize.

    Emphasize the immediate threat posed by violent criminals. De-emphasize any threats posed by the U.S. government or the U.N.

    De-emphasize issues related to cultural conservatism. Emphasize how the bill of rights–including the second amendment–applies to everyone.

    When courting young urban or suburban men ditch the warm and endearing but woefully out-moded father-to-son heritage angle. Urban and suburban fathers are non-existent or largely powerless. Pitch the RTKBA directly to young guys as an act of in-your-face defiance and rebellion against their female dominated, anti-male, educational establishments and domestic environments.

    When courting inner-city blacks ignore the leadership class and take your message directly to the people. Emphasize the personal and the practical. E.g. ‘If a criminal attacks you, you have the right to defend yourself. If a criminal attacks you with deadly force you should have every right to defend yourself with deadly force.’

    When appealing to urban and suburban women, present wide-spread gun ownership as a fait accompli. Emphasize safe gun-handling instruction along with a need for ‘increased education, awareness, and dialogue’ as the only realistic solutions to ‘gun violence.’

    • This seems like a good list.

      I would emphasize the “when enough law-abiding people carry, the criminals will recede and our cities will be safer and we will be freer to enjoy them” in the percentage and dialogue bits. Emphasizing the time to 911 response wouldn’t be foolish. Agree with the downplay of “fathers and sons” as the path into participation, because for many of the young reminder of such a path simply hurts.

  35. NRA needs to get rid of the, “Guns are for conservatives” stigma. Polarization is killing us in this regards, even if the organization has a largely conservative / religious / OFWG base. NRA-ILA can probably stand a renaming to something other than NRA related, to something that sounds alot more nonpartisan as well.

    • I agree with you but only partially. Guns are a partisan issue because they are part of the socialist agenda. They must be eradicated. Therefore support from the left will always be weak, at best. Outliers only.

      So you could remove the “guns are for conservatives” statement but silently expect that most folks who will believe the message are conservatives yet welcome the few lefties we get.

      However going out of our way to try to make all lefties feel welcome all of the time will only create bad strategy in the long run and weaken the position.

      • Completely agree with Mina, bro. There are a few leftists who like guns and are willing to stand up for second amendment rights but there’s a whole lot more who dislike guns, gun owners, and want to see them punished by the state.

        Trying to win the haters over is largely a waste of time. Winning over kids and undecided adults is how we’re going to ensure gun rights live on.

        Open carry, concealed carry, and normalizing guns are the objectives.

        We want the anti-gun people to be seen as crazy, hateful hysterical people who, when