As I have observed elsewhere, talking about guns as a “cultural” issue is a way of framing the issue that is highly beneficial to the NRA. The core of the gun lobby’s strategy is to use fear tactics to keep gun owners in a constant state of agitation so that they can be activated to oppose even modest gun law reforms. The NRA needs gun owners to believe that the debate is not “really about” such reforms as background checks at gun shows, but rather is about a sustained attack on a personal possession that has great practical and symbolic significance for millions of Americans and is, ultimately, about the values of those gun-owning Americans.
In short, the NRA needs the debate to be about banning the guns used by Americans for hunting and self-defense. If, on the other hand, the debate focuses on the pros and cons of specific reforms to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, the NRA is on shaky ground because its own members actually support many of those reforms on the merits. That, of course, is why the NRA is so threatened by the Luntz survey.
What Dennis doesn’t want you to know is they use the same tactics NRA does to raise money. Why? Because it works. If we operate off of fear, they also operate off fear. It may be the opposite face, but it’s still the same coin. But to suggest it’s fear that motivates your average gun owner is disingenuous and insulting. Many join NRA because they are concerned about their Second Amendment rights. They may or may not have a deep understanding of all the intricacies of the issue, or really understand the consequences of certain policies. They are rationally ignorant of much of this, and are fine with joining groups that represent their interests, and not paying close attention to what “gun show loophole” means or what a “terrorist watch list” really is. Explain those things to them, you’ll probably find they don’t support the Brady agenda, and will be angry once they realize someone was trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
Though I still find it interesting that the Brady position continues to, essentially boiled down to “You all are a bunch of paranoids because you won Heller, Obama won’t do anything for us, and you’re kicking our asses in every legislative body in this country. So just shut up and accept gun control already!”