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Constitution Day at the Local College

Sorry for the lack of posts this morning, folks. We spent our morning preparing for and afternoon attending the Constitution Day Fair at Bucks County Community College. They invited us to set up a table as NRA volunteers, alongside many other groups such as Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Lower Bucks Young Democrats, Bucks County Republican Party, Libertarian Party, Young Americans for Liberty, NORML, and even Occupy Wall Street. (I know I missed a couple of groups, but that just shows the range of organizations invited.)

Not that many people came by the fair, but a few folks came in to check everything out. Interestingly, any group that was either right-of-center or focused on talking about the Constitution had candy to give away. The Democrats and groups that one would normally consider left-of-center didn’t want to share candy with attendees.

We did speak with a guy who said he was writing an article for the school paper. He was mostly interested in confirming what he had heard that NRA endorses both Democrats and Republicans. We talked a bit about that history, and he took notes on the fact that NRA sends questionnaires to new candidates and grades incumbents based on voting records and questionnaires.

Ironically, our visit from a guy who said, “I support the Second Amendment, but…” was actually a Republican. He wants to ban semi-automatics. I assumed he was confused, but he did comprehend that they only fired once with each pull of the trigger. We didn’t pursue the discussion too much beyond that because I don’t know how far you can bring a person who wants a Second Amendment that allows banning guns people actually own. To make it even weirder, he said his dad is an NRA member. While this guy did know that one round is fired with each pull of the trigger, he was convinced that he could do some kind of spray shooting without aiming and hit moving targets even if he didn’t really know much about shooting guns. I guess it just goes to show you that you need to make sure you kids really understand how firearms work.

We also had a visit from a woman who wanted to know where she could get shooting lessons because she views learning the basic handling of firearms to be a safety issue – just like learning how to swim or any other personal safety concern. We, along with one of the Young Americans for Liberty guys, gave her several recommendations.

Perhaps some of the most interesting conversations overheard during the event when our table didn’t have visitors came from the Democratic representatives. Apparently, George Bush is running for President this year. Oh, wait, he’s not? You would not have known that to listen to their pitch. At this point, I wonder if some future history books will actually have mistakes listing either the election of 2008 or 2012 as Obama versus Bush.

As you can see in the pictures, we gave out Twizzlers. Given the pretty sparse crowd of visitors, they were actually pretty popular. College students love candy, and at less than $8 for 180 Twizzlers, it was a cheap and easy way to get people over to the table. A few of the students even picked up the bumper stickers.

We had several students and a couple of the staff come up just to thank us for coming out and representing the Second Amendment at an event like that. In fact, they now have interest in doing more events that feature policy debates and representatives of different sides of political issues.

While this event wasn’t huge for getting lots of new volunteers signed up, it was absolutely useful in reminding folks that the “gun lobby” is people. It’s 4 million NRA members who care about our rights. It’s even college students today who wanted to talk guns, but are still saving up for an NRA Life membership. We are real, and we do vote. We’re not representatives of some gun company as the anti-gun groups want to argue. We’re just average folks who care about Constitutional rights.

8 Responses to “Constitution Day at the Local College”

  1. Sebastian says:

    Ironically, our visit from a guy who said, “I support the Second Amendment, but…” was actually a Republican.

    I’ve lived in the Philly suburbs too long to find that ironic. More like expected. The GOP here has always been luke-warm to gun rights. What was ironic is that they put us next to the potheads, and we still had plenty of Twizzlers left :)

  2. JR says:

    Bush is running in this election. He changed his name to Obama, though. So in essence, Obama is running against his own horrific record of civil rights violations, progressively worse than when he was named Bush.

    ;-)

    • Alpheus says:

      But but but, Obama isn’t Bush! He doubled down on the bailouts, for one thing! Do you really think Bush would have done that? :-)

      Oh, how I wish that between Bush and Obama, we could put this Keynesian Economics nonsense behind us!

  3. dannytheman says:

    Questions?

    Did campus carry come up?
    Did you get a sense that college kids are not coming out this election?
    Were there any intelligent questions mentioned?

    I have long said are worst enemy is our own uneducated membership. I had a young guy drop Neal Knox’s name at the Reading Gun show on Sunday. His dad won’t let him join the NRA because the Wayne/Neal scuffle. What was that? 1983, 84? I was like, “Son, that was over 30 years ago.”

    • Bitter says:

      Nobody asked us about campus carry, though the criminal justice prof did joke that one of us could be carrying, but not in a mean or spiteful way. It was a joke after someone pointed out my earrings which are .38 special cases converted into jewelry.

      We really didn’t get much of a sense of anything at this event, politically. We didn’t talk to enough people. Of course, the lack of motivation to stop by the Constitution Day Fair may be a reflection of a lack of motivation this year. Anyone who was remotely right-of-center was far more interested and pumped up than anyone on the left. The Dems, NORML, and OWS all pretty much sat at their tables and didn’t talk to anyone else. All of the other folks were up talking to each other while it was slow. I was even talking to the SSDP girl about where to get table decorations cheaply. You didn’t see any of that energy from the others. However, the Democrats did see a bit more traffic at their table, but didn’t seem to have people walking away with lots of literature or signs and other campaign memorabilia – and they did have some Obama gear.

      As for intelligent questions, most people largely knew where they stood on the issue. One guy was talking to Sebastian about wanting to purchase his first rifle, but only having a couple of hundred bucks in spare cash at the moment. I will say that when it comes to informing the debate, the Young Americans for Liberty were all prepared with handing out pocket Constitutions. They had a ton of them as their main push for talking.

      I think the biggest take away from this event was getting our foot in the door when it comes to awareness. Many of the folks had no idea that NRA had volunteers who would come out and provide this kind of material. They were pleasantly surprised, especially that we’re actually nice folks who are willing to engage with people.

  4. Andy B. says:

    You guys sat where I’ve sat many times, though mostly more than 20 years ago. Back then it was usually registering voters. My sharpest memory of that is, c. 1994, sitting next to a guy from the Reform Party who assured me it would only be 2 – 3 years before the Reform Party had major party status in Pennsylvania. I had already grown beyond arguing such points at the time, so I just grinned and congratulated him. I wonder where he or the 6 – 7 voters he signed up are today?

    My negative memory about guns and the BCCC campus is from c. 1969, while I was still a student there. The campus hosted some sort of day-long meetings for LEOs, most of whom were in plain clothes, but who made sure their handguns were always hanging out in plain view. Even as a rabidly pro-gun guy (and a veteran, at that point) I was offended, as it was clearly unnecessary intimidation swagger by cops; “We’re doing something you snots can’t do, and imagine what would happen if you gave us some grief about it?” I remember the student newspaper (The Collegian?) had a very negative editorial about it. It was one small incident that certainly did nothing for our RKBA.

    You can analyze how students properly should have felt, but, I’m just reporting how they did feel, lo, some 43 year ago.

  5. Maria says:

    We also had a visit from a woman who wanted to know where she could get shooting lessons because she views learning the basic handling of firearms to be a safety issue
    That’s the exact same reason I took my first gun safety class. And then it all came from there. ;)

    I think it’s a very valid line of reasoning and one that isn’t leveraged enough, especially with at women who might not otherwise want to “learn how to shoot.”

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