… who do not own guns.Â What are the implications of that?Â The implications are that you have to care what non-gun owners think about you, and think about gun owners and gun rights, because if you lose the support of the 240 million Americans who do not own firearms, the Second Amendment will be no more than a 200+ year old ink blot on a piece of old parchment.Â I can’t think of any better way to lose the support of the majority of Americans that do not own guns than to make those people think the people that own them are not above using them as a means to gain political influence.Â This has third world banana republic connotations to a lot of people.
Now, I suspect the gentleman involved in this last incident did not have making an implied political threat on his mind when he went to the protest with an AR-15 slung over his shoulder.Â If I had to wager, I’d wager he was looking for media attention.Â But it will be spun in the media to the 240 million Americans who do not own gun as a political gesture, and many will take it as a threat.Â If Americans think that expanded gun rights means turning this country into a banana Republic, they will stop favoring expanding them.
Understand this, because it’s important: we are outvoted.Â We only succeed when the vast majority of American believe in the right to bear arms.Â We only beat back gun control because the vast majority of Americans aren’t passionate about gun control, and don’t vote on the issue.Â We do vote on the issue, but we’re a minority of voters.Â Compared to the electorate as a whole, we’re a small minority of voters.Â There is no escaping that we have to convince others to support, or at least not oppose our position.Â So you have to care about how gun owners, as a group, fare in the Court of Public Opinion.
Some might suggest I believe we ought to get back into the closet.Â That’s not really accurate.Â I don’t sugggest that.Â But part of breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions about gun owners being deviant or abnormal is to act normal.Â Normal people do not walk around with AR-15s slung over their shoulders.Â You might have the right, and I don’t think it should be illegal, but you won’t get people to see gun owners as normal by engaging in that activity.Â It would be roughly akin to trying to get the public to accept public nudity by running around in public nude.Â It’s not liable to change anyone’s mind.
UPDATE: It’s been suggested that 240 million is a bit much because I’m includind every American and not just registered voters.Â I think this is a valid point.Â Number of registered voters is 170 million.Â Others point out that the numbers are likely understated,Â I also agree with that.Â Even arguing the numbers are more like 70 million gun owners rather than 57, you’re still not at a majority until you’re over 85 million.Â That’s also assuming all gun owners are registered to vote, which they aren’t.Â That’s also assuming that gun owners all vote like gun owners, which they don’t.Â NRA has run studies on this issue, and figures it has influence with about 33 million Americans.Â That’s nothing to sneeze at, certainly, and it’s why we even had a vote on National Concealed Carry at all, but it’s not enough to guarantee our political fortunes.
AARP has 35 million members, and backs nationalized health care.Â If AARP can’t ram through ObamaCare with 35 million members, why is that?Â Why do we think we can get away with doing whatever the hell we want, and damn what the public thinks with 4 million?