SAF is promoting a National Gun Appreciation Day on January 19. Like NRA’s School Shield Program, this is something that is helping drive the narrative. I’ve seen several media outlets covering this. From that standpoint, I think this is started out well. But much like NRA’s pitch on School Shield, I have some concerns, or really, two concerns.
The first concern is that this seems to trying to recreate the same kind of buzz that happened with the Chick-fil-a appreciation that happened last year. I think there are some distinctions here worth considering. The first is that Chick-fil-a appreciation was effectively an organic phenomena. It started with a Facebook statement from Mike Huckabee, and went viral from there. The day after the media story hit about the Cathy family views, cars were lined up at the drive-thru of every Chick-fil-a in the country. That could happen easily because Chick-fil-a is a mass market product that people are familiar with, and a lot of people tend to go to somewhat regularly. It’s fairly easy to suggest “Let’s go grab some lunch at Chick-fil-a,” if you’re a conservative minded person and want to throw some support. Our issue is a bit different, in that we’re not a mass market product, given that the vast majority of gun owners buy a few guns in a lifetime and aren’t frequent range goers. That said, there is an impressive array of center-right groups behind the effort, so this has some potential to broaden our support, but it also raises the stakes. But I’m very wary of top down efforts to affect a mass demonstration. The right does much better with organic efforts. The gun show lines snaking around the corner are an organic phenomena. The shelves stripped bare at gun shops across the country are an organic phenomena. When top down approaches are used, there’s always a risk of the event flopping, which the media will happily report. That’s going to leave the groups who got behind it diminished, and leave gun owners diminished heading into the fight of our lives. Some will probably be calling NRA wanting to know why they aren’t on this effort, but you probably have your answer in what I’m writing here. You can use a top-down approach for mass demonstration, but there are risks to doing it in a very public way. When the left does it, and they do it effectively, the organizing tends to happen out of the public view. You generally don’t notice until you have, like NRA did the Monday after Newtown, a hundred or so people standing outside your office waving Creedo signs in your face.
The second concern, and perhaps the greater concern reflects something I heard last night on Cam & Company. In his weekly roundtable with Mike McCarville. Cam was getting feedback from Mike about what gun show attendees were thinking and doing, in terms of whether they were writing their lawmakers and making their voice heard. The unfortunate response was that many of them felt very strongly that by going to the gun show, or by buying guns and some ammunition, they were making a statement. Folks, if this belief becomes widespread, we’re going to lose. Communicating with lawmakers is crucial at a time like this. Last night I got a call from NRA’s lobbyist in Illinois, and he mentioned that everyone’s phone calls, faxes, and e-mails were absolutely crucial to helping defeat those bills (for now). If we can’t repeat that play everywhere else in the country we are screwed. More importantly, if Obama turns his machine against us, and most of our people are feeling like panic buying equals doing something, we’re not going to know what hit us. You’ll feel the same way you felt when you went to bed on election night or woke up the next day and wondered how this could happen. A lot of people who participate in something like this are going to feel like they did something, and if this event scores big time positive media, they will have. If it doesn’t, we may send off a lot satiated people, who feel good that they did something, who in fact, did not. Something right now is communicating with lawmakers. It’s what we just saw in Illinois. It’s what the other side is desperately trying to encourage their people to do, because they know that’s what works.
So am I saying don’t participate? No. I’m not saying that at all. The stakes are very high for an event like this to fail. My purpose is to try to get people to understand how I think about activism, and make a case for my concerns. If you can clear off your schedule on Saturday the 19th, you should. I will be donning my Second Amendment t-shirt and trying to find people in lines waiting to get in ranges and shops. I’m going to try to help people contact their lawmakers, and to convince them of the necessity of doing so. I would encourage everyone else who can make the time to do the same. I would like this event to be a success, because if it is, not only will there be a media payoff, but it’ll help get gun owners in one place so I can try out the plan I’m developing to help our people more easily communicate with lawmakers in my local district.
35 Responses to “National Gun Appreciation Day”
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