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“At NRA, we believe in true grassroots. We don’t think that volunteers are ‘customers.’ These people are our friends. I’ve been in their homes, I’ve met their children, I’ve sat at their kitchen table, I’ve met their grandchildren. In addition, we on staff do all the things that we ask volunteers to do. We walk neighborhoods and pass out literature, we get on the phones, we raise money, we volunteer for campaigns. We consider ourselves peers with our volunteers.” – NRA Volunteer organizer quoted in Five Reasons the NRA Won the Recent Gun Control Debate That Have Nothing to Do with Politics [via]

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  1. The story highlights how different tools need to be used in campaigns to achieve desired objectives. Very well written, and a necessary reminder that the battle for our rights is an ongoing struggle. While this particular skirmish may have been won, there will be others, and as such we on the pro 2A side of the debate must “keep our powder dry and ready”, as our opponents prepare for the next offensive.

  2. The article was as objective as they come nowadays. It was a refreshing read, and a reminder of what journalism SHOULD be.

  3. I am new. I received the welcome letter from NRA last week along with the donation form. I don’t have problem to donate. I am just an average guy and really just wondering, can they swear that the higher managements in NRA never use donation money to fly first class, having steak dinners with a hundred dollars bottles of wine, earning salaries more than $100,000? Like the head of United Way? Your thoughts, please, would be very appreciated.

    • Guilty as charged. The larger the organization, the worse the problem. Unfortunately, special interest groups buy lawmaker loyalty with steak dinners and deep sea fishing trips. It’s hard to distance yourself from that lifestyle.

    • The reality is that to attract the type of talented people you need to run the organization, you need to give them perks like flying 1st class. As for the salary, you’re missing a couple of zeros. I believe LaPierre makes $1M per year.

    • Given the fight they just won, LaPierre could be snorting coke from the belly of a $5,000 a night hooker and I’d be okay with it.

    • Like any large organization, those at the very top are well rewarded. As long as they continue to represent us (as in no compromise with the antis where we do not get anything in return) well, I don’t really have a problem with it. It requires a lot of work, and these folks take a LOT of heat from many different directions. One thing is for sure, they can produce results.

    • United Way is supposed to be a conduit for money to causes, which it does, but siphoned quite a bit off the top. The NRA isn’t a charity organization like United Way and like other organizations it is judged on the outcome of fights engaged in.

      We could debate the results all day but that has little to do with how they spend their money to get results. Sure, we would like to see austerity in our organizations and every dollar going to “The Cause” but in the end if we want to retain and reward the people in the organization we need to make it a good place to be.
      Would you work hard in a cheap organization that pinched every penny?

  4. Very true. NRA isn’t a political boogeyman for RINOs and moderate Democrats, they represent 5 million people.

    NRA does a pretty good job dealing with us. They have great programs for gun owners and their lobbying is effective.

    What they need more of (and to get the members and all gun owners doing more of) is outreach. The facts are on our side, education can be our weapon if we would only wield it. For all the messaging NRA does, I see scant little of it directed at liberals and democrats. And yet, that could be some of their most effective campaigns.

    There are millions of liberals and democrats who have no idea why guns are good or what an assault rifle is. They hear about AWBs, mag bans, gun free zones, and it all sounds pretty logical so they get on board. If you throw in some knowledge, MANY (not all, but many) of these people reconsider their positions, and frequently become pro-gun. These people are low-hanging fruit, inject just enough knowledge to get them to question what they are pretty sure is fact (but is of course nowhere near it) and they will come around.

    I say this from experience. Yeah, I’m a liberal, registered Democrat. I’d always been pretty neutral on guns- I recognized that 2A existed and why, but I thought gun free zones were a good idea. Fortunately I had a few friends who gave me just enough information to question what I thought I knew, which got me curious enough to educate myself. I know own a handful of firearms and shoot at least a few times a month.

    There are many others like me. I’ve ‘passed it on’ and taken other friends shooting (most of them liberal democrats), and when they see how accessible and fun and not-evil the sport is, they become pro-gun and a few have become gun owners themselves.

    Before I got into shooting though, the only thing I ever got from NRA a few years ago was the usual “Obama’s coming for your guns!” pitch. It went in the recycle with a chuckle. If that same mailing had been “What an assault rifle is and isn’t, and why gun free zones don’t work” I’d probably have joined years ago.

    If NRA and gun owners as a whole want to keep our rights, we NEED to reach out to the non-shooters, the women, the minorities, the liberals and the democrats. Because if most conservatives are pro-gun, and even a handful more liberals are pro-gun, then gun control will rapidly become a dead issue.
    But if we continue to vilify liberals and democrats, we push them away from a sport, a hobby, and a right that is just as much their right as anybody else’s. And we create enemies instead of friends.

    • the only thing I ever got from NRA a few years ago was the usual “Obama’s coming for your guns!”

      And? Do you mean he isn’t coming for our guns? I’m very relieved to know that.

      • Lol, I’m relieved too. Now that is settled, wtf is with 22LR *STILL* being out of stock?

      • Missing the point. The point is to a non-gun-owning liberal who voted for Obama, that’s the wrong message (especially when Obama himself claimed he wouldn’t be taking guns away). It made the NRA look (to an Obama-voting democrat) like crazed wingnuts. Whether it ended up true or not isn’t the point- the point is to someone like I was, guns were a low priority issue.
        Letters like that resonate with gun owners. They don’t resonate with unarmed liberals. If you want to bring people to our side, you have to send the right message.

    • You said it correctly at the end, “we NEED to reach out to . . . .” A lot of people are not going to listen to a message like that from the NRA precisely because the NRA has become the bogeyman. As members or just concerned gun owners, it is OUR job to reach out to friends, co-workers, and family members to discuss gun rights because they will at least hear us out. Sounds like you’re doing a pretty good job of that already. And, yes, we do sometimes vilify liberals and democrats to our detriment, but it is hard when that is the party most often advocating further restrictions on firearms. (I am a reformed democrat myself, so I am sympathetic to your concerns about vilifying them unnecessarily.)

      • In Washington, NRA will always be a boogeyman, and I’m happy to keep it that way. It is most useful to have an organization with the power to (sometimes) end political careers. The more politicians fear the NRA and gun-owning Americans as a whole, the better.

        In the public eye though, I think NRA should work on their image. They are too tightly connected to the Republican party, which turns Democrats away. I also think they take it too far- they never should have endorsed Romney IMHO. The guy signed an AWB, buying a life membership and spouting bullshit about squirrel hunting shouldn’t buy the NRA’s full support. NRA should have endorsed the REAL pro-gun candidate- Gary Johnson. It wouldn’t have made any difference, but it’d have shown both parties that the NRA’s support is available to the right candidate from ANY party.

        NRA’s doing some good things lately. LaPierre has toned down the ‘crazy sounding’ rhetoric a bit (either that or I’ve just gotten more crazy), and they hired MrColionNoir, Natalie Foster, and Dom Raso. Noir and Foster especially are the type of faces people need to see advocating for gun rights.
        If they’d just do a bit more to get those videos in front of unarmed people, it’d be a good thing…

        Haha reformed democrat, I like that. “Do you or someone you love suffer from democratism? Well now there’s hope. Just apply nitrocellulose extract cream to the affected area twice per day…” 🙂

  5. That was an incredibly well written article. As I was reading the section about the knowledge and effectiveness of those advocating on behalf of gun rights, it reminded me of how well informed those within our community have become. It is truly impressive, and I think many within the gun control community who look down their noses at gun owners as uneducated and ill-informed were not prepared for the high level of discourse brought by those on our side. It also helps to be right.

  6. Good article. One point that needs to be more fully exploited — most people outside of NYC distrust and dislike Bloomberg. Meanwhile, his captive organization, MAIG, is carrying most of the anti-Constitution water. This allow every pro-2A candidate to run against the universally distrusted (if not despised) Bloomberg, rather than the potentially more popular anti opponent. It allows every pro-2A candidate to say “New York can’t tell me how to vote. Bloomberg can’t buy me.”

    It’s a lot easier to demonize one pushy, imperial New York City billionaire than 5 million NRA members.

  7. One of the key aspects to the NRA’s success (speaking as a Benefactor member) is that we members know that the people who work for us at the NRA headquarters share our belief in the absolutely necessity of civilian gun ownership to a free nation. We also define “shall not be infringed” in the same way.

    We are one of the very few grass-roots groups whose members (5yr or longer) elect the Board of Directors.

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