Higher than both the media and Congress. There was a concerted effort from NRA during the 90s to enter the mainstream, and by virtue of that, bring the issue with it. Clinton, and George H.W. Bush before him, were very successful in the late 1980s and early 1990s at painting NRA as a whack job of an organization. From “jackbooted thugs”, to laying the blame for Oklahoma City square at the feet of extremist gun rights supporters, it was one blow after another. A lot of the gains we’ve made since have been the result of gun rights becoming credible a mainstream issue, and taking action to attempt to blunt the media assertions. That’s one reason NRA promoted a popular idea of putting armed police or security in schools; it’s a mainstream alternative to gun control, and it’s mainstream in a way that “arming teachers” is not yet.
The media and the anti-gun groups spend so much time demonizing NRA because they know they need to force it out of the mainstream and to the fringe. This has gotten to be much more difficult for them because there are plenty of new outlets people can turn to in order to not feel alone. Alienation and shame are the primary weapons our opponents have to affect a successful divide and conquer strategy. The media campaigns to smear NRA are largely intended to shame marginal gun owners into not associating it, or its opinions. The media and anti-gun groups openly tout other gun owners with pro-gun control attitudes, because they want to offer marginal gun owners an identity outside of gun rights movement, and offer those people acceptance from polite society (for the time being).
I think blogs, forums, social media, etc in our community offer those marginal gun owners a place to find other similarly minded people. I’m personally quite comfortable being on a fringe, but most people are not; they want to belong, and shame can be a powerful weapon in convincing people they are alienated, and not accepted by mainstream society. If it did not work, our opponents would not employ this tactic in such a heavy handed manner. NRA has always had the burden of having to defend gun rights, but having to do so while not fighting and arguing too far ahead of where the culture currently is. In any political battle, you need to be able to form a large enough coalition to get the attention of policy makers, and not every member of that coalition is going to be someone engaged in this issue on an constant and ongoing basis.
7 Responses to “NRA Popularity”
- NRA is More Popular than the President | Great Satan, Inc. - [...] the liberal extremist war being waged against the NRA, Gallup has come out with an updated poll that reveals The NRA has ...