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Dear NRA

It’s time to sit down and have a little talk. There’s a few things that are becoming apparent as I’ve watched the reaction to Parkland. One is that Bloomberg’s game has been much better organized and more focused than it was after Sandy Hook. My impression then was that the gun control movement was poorly prepared and organized. Bloomberg was still mucking about with Illegal Mayors, and the Brady organization was flat broke and not really ready. The White House hadn’t yet spent much time on gun control, and Sandy Hook was the pretext that got them started. That has not been the case this time. They’ve learned a lot, they were much better prepared, and they executed on their strategy very effectively.

NRA used to be an organization that was good at grass roots organizing. I have participated in some of those efforts as a volunteer coordinator over several campaigns. I stopped in frustration, because we could never recruit any volunteers to coordinate. It was always just Bitter and me. Back then, I thought they were my deficiencies; maybe I didn’t have the touch. There were some volunteer coordinators who are pretty successful. But since then, I’ve learned I can be an effective organizer of volunteers. The chief problem was that I didn’t have enough local connections to be effective. The other thing I learned is that people did not recognize NRA as an organization that they are or should be directly involved with. We might like to say “I’m the NRA,” but I’m not sure that’s really ringing true for a lot of people these days. NRA is an organization that sends them a magazine and asks them for money. A lot of members might agree that NRA is important, and that why they maintain their memberships, but they are more in the role of passive consumers of what NRA is offering.

That has to change. We must turn them into active participants. NRA will not accomplish that by continuing to encourage members to passively consume more Ack-Mac-generated Angry Dana videos. I worry that in another few years of planning and learning from prior mistakes, when Bloomberg et al get their next pretext, the dam is going to break. It may have broken already; this is all still playing out. We can lament that Bloomberg has been more effective this time because he’s hiring professional organizers who know how to work with a small number of dedicated activists, or we can beat him at this game by upping our game.

This past weekend, I organized a mailing of more than 200 letters to local lawmakers from members of my club. We came up with templates people could start with. We were ready to look up lawmakers for members, and had a bunch of envelopes, pre-printed address labels, and stamps. I offered work time (which applies against dues) to members who participated. The response was pretty good. We are an NRA Gold Star club. How many other clubs out there would like to do something, but don’t quite know what to do? How many other clubs or shooting outfits view NRA as some far off organization they don’t really know or interact with?

Grassroots activism is hard. It’s a lot harder than paying Ack-Mac to make another series of angry videos. But effective organizing takes more than feeding people’s anger. You have to effectively turn that anger into something useful and positive. For that, there is no substitute for face-to-face local contact. NRA doesn’t seem to do a whole hell of a lot of that outside the Friends of NRA program.

I would strongly encourage NRA to focus on a few areas:

  1. More outreach to NRA affiliated organizations, specifically for the purpose of training people how to be effective. But less specifically to get face time with members. Doesn’t have to be top people. Could be Board members. Could be local volunteers.
  2. A lot of clubs and shooting organizations need help with technology. NRA could be a lot of help with this. Technology facilitates communication. I could never have organized the letter writing campaign with the technology we had even two years ago. I was only able to do that because I put a framework in place to facilitate it. It was a lot of work, but paid off. What I’m lacking is the ability to communicate with other area clubs. I’m slowly building that, but that’s a harder problem. Again, NRA could do a lot to be a facilitator to get local organizations talking to each other. Sometimes being an outside organization can be an advantage, and this is one of those times.
  3. People need to have politics explained to them. Most people don’t understand the political process. They need to see and understand how their action fits in. I was recently reminded of a passage from a leftist organizer: “Power tends to appear magical to those who have less of it, and mechanical to those who are accustomed to wielding it instrumentally.” The article continues: “It’s not magical kids, and it’s not George Soros sprinkling money around. It’s hard work by people who’ve trained to do it.” When the balloon goes up, our people have to know what to expect, and be able to spring into action. We’re very good at self-organizing, but some people will need it spelled out a bit more than others. You don’t want to lose because you’re only depending on self-starters. In my experience, self-starters are rare, and they are getting rarer in the younger generations.

We have a lot more people at our disposal, and unlike their people, ours have a lot to lose. They will have to pay people to organize their small cadre. We should require far fewer paid professionals. But the work nevertheless has to be done, and it’s something that can’t be accomplished with a membership accustomed to passively consuming content. NRA needs to spend more time getting out there among the people, and most importantly educating them, and offering the tools they need to be successful.

76 Responses to “Dear NRA”

  1. kahr40 says:

    Also work with and not at cross purposes to State grassroots gun organizations. The NRA doesn’t always know best at the local level and this behavior alienates activists at the local level.

  2. dwb says:

    When something like this happens, NRA membership goes up.

    Thing is, more than money, or in addition to money, that impulse needs to be translated into action (letters, protests, testimony, voting). Concrete things that lawmakers can see and that they know will be backed up with voting behavior. Money is valuable, time more so. Antis are very good at channeling anger into gun control. Why are we so feckless at channeling anger?

    Watching FL house republicans pass gun control without Democratic support, I just cannot believe how stupid it is. Republicans just will not be rewarded either with Dems switching or independents going to the polls. Dems will simply say “not far enough” and Republicans / independents stay home. But the NRA, Florida Carry, and other groups seem poorly organized – meanwhile the teachers union and Bloomberg are pouring millions into protests and walk-outs, so here we are.

    I personally think the NRA got complacent after Trump won – too focused on selling carry insurance. Plus, its easier to organize when the enemy is clear (Obama), harder to organize when the enemy is nebulous and diffuse as it is now.

    We have to chalk FL up to the loss column – banning shotguns and rifles for 18-21 yr olds was a HUGE victory for Demanding Moms – and learn.

    • Joe says:

      Did the FL House of Representatives actually pass that Senate Gun Control Bill?

      Last I checked, it only passed the Fl State Senate.

    • Joe says:

      Also, I agree with what you said about the Democrats saying “not enough” about the current gun control bill going through Florida. Unfortunately, it looks like Bill Nelson will be getting reelected to the Senate from Florida in 2018(he’s a Democrat).

      Nelson and the Democrats will rail Rick Scott for not going far enough on abolishing the 2nd Amendment, Republicans and Independent Voters will stay home in Florida for 2018 under the mantra of “both parties are the same”. Rick Scott and the Florida GOP may have just f***ed Florida over for good.

      What really scares me though is the 2018 Florida Gubernatorial Election. If Gwen Graham, a 2016 DNC Delegate for Hillary Clinton, big-time Obama and Clinton $Donor, and ultra-favorite to become the 2018 Florida Democrat Gubernatorial Candidate, wins the Florida Governorship, Florida becomes “California-Blue”, and it won’t matter if the GOP controls both Chambers of the Florida Legislature. Florida, like California, will be gone forever,…..and not just on the gun-issue.

  3. Dave says:

    It wasn’t so much that after Newtown the antis were in disarray, there was a HUGE hue and cry for gun control. The difference is that after Newtown, the NRA actually did something – they publicly fought back.

    The problem is that by the time NRA said anything, the narrative and the parameters for discussion were already defined: We were going to talk about more gun control, because all the gun laws that were broken would have worked if we had more gun laws to break !

    This time, NRA did and said nothing. They let the “we must have more gun control” shouting to continue into a frothing fury and this time the would be confiscators were ready. They hired professional protesters to augment their pathetic numbers and they made a huge impact. They had plans in place to capitalize on the tragedy.

    All while we sat back because “it’s too soon to talk, we need to give the families time to grieve”

    This is a strategy for absolute and total defeat.

  4. Alien says:

    Amen.

    I don’t think the NRA thinks far enough ahead – if Bloomberg et al are successful in severely restricting gun ownership and use, who the Hell will need the NRA, much less feel any need to send them money?

    The NRA seems quite incestuous – it focuses inward to its own needs and those of the structures it is comfortable with because they have been there for decades.

    The world has changed, and the lightning speed with which our enemies came out with a highly coordinated anti-gun response after Florida is proof. Those of us who read this blog know just how big the lies were in that effort, but Jane and John Doe in Podunk don’t because they’re not part of the gun culture and there’s no mechanism for the gun culture to reach them.

    The strength of the pro-gun side is grass roots: 5+ million members, and the millions who aren’t members but often vote like it, is a mass that cannot be ignored. But…it needs to be organized and managed and that means competent organizers out in the field assisting gun clubs, customers at gun shops, and casual shooters in how to keep their heritage alive and defeat the anti-gun enemy; 20 people in Fairfax composing the next fund raising letter is not helping (side note: maybe it’s time the NRA very closely examines just why it needs so damn much money all the time).

    Glenn Reynolds has long argued for conservative ownership of media outlets to stop the anti-gun messaging and push pro-gun and conservative messaging; that does not mean the NRA should start buyimg magazines and TV stations, but there is much work to be done behind the scenes advocating and assisting others to do so.

    Jeff Bezons bought the Washington Post for $250 million which was a fire sale price; I don’t know if he’s making money with it or using it as a tax write-off, but it’s a sure bet the WaPo will not ever print anything pro-gun or conservative because it’s owned by a far-left liberal.

    • Bitter says:

      Jeff Bezos is a left libertarian. He’s a Reason donor, and people who know him say his views fall more into libertarian camps.

      If libertarians who have access to spread mutually-agreeable messages from time-to-time are now the enemy of GOP voters, then the tent will keep shrinking in size.

    • ad-lib says:

      the WaPo has posted things pro-gun or conservative through specific opinion writers/contributors. Volokh Conspiracy was there until recently, and they put up pro-gun pieces regularly.

      but yes, the editorial board is hard anti-gun

  5. Sigivald says:

    I’m a Life Member, for the obvious reason of supporting the NRA’s civil rights (“because that’s what the Second Amendment is!”) work.

    I just wish they could:

    1) Not send me so much useless marketing crap.
    2) Remember that I AM a life member and not occasionally send me “join the NRA!” mails – it makes me wonder if they’re too incompetent to know I am, or skeezy enough to hope I’ve forgotten and will buy a second membership.
    3) Stay entirely the hell out of any non-2A politics, especially embracing The President (in any context other than approving of his pro-2A actions).

    Especially, most of all, #3. “NRA as Trump or GOP rah-rah” destroys the value of the NRA faster than anything else, and they’ve been dangerously close to flirting with that since last year, sometimes.

    • Bitter says:

      1) Not send me so much useless marketing crap.

      You can call the member number on your card and request fewer mailings. I only get ballots, election mail, and now the magazine that we switched to paper on after getting tired of being jerked around on late board ballots as e-suscribers.

      • Sigivald says:

        I’ll keep that in mind, though I also hate having to talk to them on the phone for it.

        It’s only 2018, after all. A marketing preferences online form, what even IS that?

        • Bitter says:

          To some degree, I’m sure it’s a case of having to make it a little pain in the neck so people don’t opt out too much. The reality of it is that enough people end up buying their pitches that it makes it worthwhile. :)

    • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

      The whole “socialist tears” thing is just dumb. I want the NRA to talk about gun rights and gun rights only. They keep getting into general culture war stuff.

      • SDN says:

        It amuses me to hear people celebrating the Second Amendment while hating on the culture that produced it.

        “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams.

        At least until I reflect that they are perfectly willing to destroy that culture and the Constitution because they want license more than liberty.

    • ad-lib says:

      “3) Stay entirely the hell out of any non-2A politics, especially embracing The President (in any context other than approving of his pro-2A actions).”

      this. i am in the NRA for gun rights, not to defend Trump because he’s Trump.

    • 241 says:

      Call the NRA here to get off their marketing mailing list: 877-NRA-2000

      I did, and I don’t get that stuff anymore.

  6. Patrick says:

    “Angry Dana Videos”, FTW.

    Agree. I like Dana, but she’s not the calm, cool and collected visage we need. Somehow it becomes all about Dana. Not sure she tries to do it, but it ends up being about Dana every time.

    Grassroots engagement is at an all-time low. Emails to “call your representative” are NOT grassroots engagement. How about they throw a few BBQs/gun shoots and find out what the locals think needs doing, locally? Then maybe working on those problems before posting yet more Dana/Noir Production videos?

    Here’s hoping: maybe NRA will stop preening and start working.

    • BC says:

      I’m sure that Dana Loesch and Grant Stinchfield are very nice people in real life. But it positively enrages me to see them banging the KULTUR WAR drum as the public face of the NRA. Whoever thought this was a good idea, a way to build a bipartisan constituency in favor of gun rights, needs to have his or her head examined.

      • Sebastian says:

        I’m somewhat OK with Dana Loesch as a spokesperson in some situations. I thought she did well in the CNN segments I saw. Better than Wayne would have done in that hot seat. Better than Rubio did.

        • BC says:

          Re: Rubio, I am downright embarrassed I ever imagined that guy was presidential timber. What a disappointment he’s turned out to be.

          • HappyWarrior6 says:

            I suppose one could say we ended up with the president we deserved… GOOD AND HARD. Which may have actually been a good thing this time?

        • Alien says:

          To work the media you need media skills, it’s not a job for amateurs. Loesch has those skills. She does need to be managed, though, to keep those skills focused on the – very narrow – gun rights agenda, and do so in a calm, measured – “kinder and friendlier” manner; politics does follow culture, however, so culture is important but the NRA should be preaching gun rights not culture. If – BIG if – the NRA were smart enough, and had the “mental scope” for it, there are opportunities for supporting much behind-the-scenes work by other entities on cultural issues.

        • Patrick says:

          I agree. I actually like “Warrior Dana” outside the NRA, but I’d like to keep the NRA out of tangential social issues. Dana has way too much history as a culture warrior to make her work with NRA solely about NRA issues. True, guns cannot avoid the culture wars. But that doesn’t mean we use the NRA to openly back a particular political bend.

          How long before NRA starts grading pro-2A candidates based on non-gun policy questions? Hipster pro-gun Dem candidate from Portland? Not good enough for the NRA unless you also are pro-life…

          It’s gonna happen.

  7. HappyWarrior6 says:

    So when the next mass shooting happens, and the shooter is over 21, what then? Why didn’t we jack the age requirement up to 65 after Vegas? The Las Vegas shooter was 64, after all.

    The strategy by NRA is to hang on to “no new gun laws would stop this,” and they are right as we see this playing out.vSooner or later a “new gun law” would have been enacted whether we wanted it to or not. It would have been Fix NICS or something more innocuous, but it would pass. Continuing to point this out is part of the strategy. I actually think this makes it even more clear how useless of an effort by the Florida GOP, Rick Scott, and Marco Rubio was and how obvious they did it in a pitiful effort to “respond to the national conversation”. Because I’m still convinced that’s *why* they did it. Otherwise they would be pushing gun bans if they were truly convinced gun control was a winning political issue if they really didn’t care.

    I am convinced even more than nothing but 100% repeal of gun laws affecting those who have not been convicted of a violent felony must remain our goal. And we also need to help 18-20 year olds continue to purchase guns in Florida and defend their rights. As far as I know there aren’t UBCs there anyway.

    All that being said, I believe Wayne La Pierre’s time is up. He had a woman do the fighting for him, quite effectively, and he also does not exactly hold the key to reaching the 18-29 demographic who we must continue to connect with.

    I say all of this as a Life Benefactor member.

  8. cryptical says:

    Florida shows that we need strong state orgs as well as the NRA at the federal level. Think of it as defense in depth. Here in MN we have a couple decent state gun rights organizations, the newest one seems built for activism from the ground up.

    The problem with playing defense is we have to win every time, 100%. Any little win they get is just a new place to start the next push from.

  9. Old Windways says:

    @Sigivald and @HappyWarrior6 hit on 2 of my own personal issues with the organization.

    As a single issue advocacy group, we need to stay away from other controversial topics like gay marriage, immigration, and apparently net neutrality (unless there is a very compelling case made to the membership that these issues have a direct effect on our single issue). Making our issue a partisan issue is a path to failure. We need to provide an opening for Democrats (or third party members) to come on board and support our single issue.

    Wayne is past his prime and at this point, I think he hurts us more in the public eye than he helps us. Perhaps he can stay on board as a consultant, but he is not who we need as the face of the NRA.

    As a Massachusetts resident, I often feel that the NRA has abandoned us behind enemy lines here, but perhaps they are just absent in the trenches nationwide.

    NRA Life Member

    • Bitter says:

      If you’re in Massachusetts, you have GOAL on the ground working hand-in-hand with NRA. Membership in both should be mandatory for any gun purchase there. They are the NRA state association, and there are professional staff in place to work on your local issues all of the time. Most states don’t have a professional state association and the standard ILA lobbyists, so you’ve got more attention than most states. The problem is that you guys are just that outnumbered up there.

      Assuming you’re a member of a club, if you want to see more grassrootsy action, join GOAL, reach out to them and let them know you’d like to help and where you’re a member so they can weigh what might be possible in your area. The small staff can’t do it all.

      • Old Windways says:

        Yeah, my characterization may have been a little harsh. I am a GOAL member (as well as the SAF) and I recognize they are working hard to do what they can. Unfortunately, we are so deep in the hole legislatively here that climbing out is that much more difficult. The fact that our AG’s actions have gone answered is frankly terrifying. On top of that, writing to my Senators/Representatives feels pretty futile (but I do it anyway).

        I definitely need to see what we can do to leverage our club’s membership.

      • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

        That’s what the NRA needs more off- strong state level groups. What do we have here in PA from them? A whole lotta nothing.

        And yes, Wayne MUST go.

        • Bitter says:

          You need really, really dedicated gun owners who can put up the money to higher competent people and start out with reasonable resources. I don’t know that PA has that kind of network to launch it. I also think the incredible geographic, economic, and cultural differences exist in the Pennsylvania (even within the gun community) that aren’t as big of a problem in many other states.

          Pennsylvania has smaller networks that can be formed and utilized more effectively than they are now. I think club level work with active coordination among other clubs in a region would go sooooo far, including being about as powerful as having a full-time professional state association working on broader gun rights issues.

          • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

            You may be right since we do have nothing.

            I think club level work could go very far, especially if its regionally oriented.

  10. Brad says:

    Increase Defcon to 4?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEFCON

    Breaking news: Governor Malloy in a press conference accused the NRA of being a “terrorist organization”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9NVKdUAH48

    • Joe says:

      Defcon 2, and remember that Defcon 1 is the worst case scenario.

      The Democrat Party is using the NRA as a strawman to label everyone of the 90 million to 130 million gun owners of America as political dissidents to the Democrat Party as a whole.

      Dannell Malloy is dogwhistling what the Democrat Party truly feels about American gun owners:…..they are political dissidents that must be “purged” from society.

      • Brad says:

        I knew exactly what I was saying when I asked about “increase to Defcon 4?”. Hence the link I provided.

        If you really think the current situation warrants Defcon 2 status, you need to calm down.

        I appreciate your vigilance, but overestimating danger is as bad as underestimating it.

  11. Fred says:

    Forums and facebook groups fill that local organizing need for me. That’s probably not evenly distributed across the US, though.

    Like I’ve said before, the OFWGs really need to bridge the generation gap to the X’ers and Millennials quick. Staying holed up in the clubhouse isn’t going to get it done.

    • Bitter says:

      If those forums and Facebook groups are getting together regularly in person to do mail drives, lit drops for candidates, and direct in person actions in your community and with politicians, then they aren’t filling the need. Hearing a bunch of likeminded people talk on the internet with a little local information isn’t cutting it. It has to turn into real action to count at all.

      • Fred says:

        It does. I’m talking about real action. Within the last couple of weeks we’ve organized to put the pain to local and state politicians: phone calls, emails, and even in person at council hearings. Through these efforts local councils quietly “forgot” about bad initiatives and bad bills and amendments at the state level got punted via bureaucratic manipulation.

        It’s tough to say these efforts were the sole reason the state level push died. However, it’s just us turning the tide at the local level. We’re the ones showing up to the hearings and watching the agendas that are posted.

        • Bitter says:

          In that case, you do have an exceptionally rare organization. That’s not the trend with most people who report they “organize” online.

  12. HappyWarrior6 says:

    Another musing we should all know right about now: “If you aren’t going to show up in your state to protect your own rights, you will hurt us in ours” is starting to become a recurring theme here. This is a motto the NRA should learn. I don’t care if you are a “blue state” or “purple state”. Florida is a “red state”. I don’t care if Sebastian deems your political boundaries to be “long under threat”. You show up and make their lives hell.

    If the NRA does not invest in their statewide outreach then these policies will start jumping state to state. How many people thought that we would be looking at the potential for a firearms ban for 18-20 year olds a year ago?

    And what we do not want is a duplication of these policies federally. That will stack things 2x.

    In PA we are strong because of lots of *PERSONAL PARTICIPATION* such as what Sebastian and Bitter are doing, as well as a willingness to truly make our elected officials lives hell in Harrisburg if they cross us, but we can’t exact jump a plane at a moments notice and rally in Florida or Connecticut. We have an annual gun rights rally in Harrisburg that is usually well attended, and we do visit politicians offices after the speakers are done yapping. I have personally engaged my state senator and state rep at these events. Personally, I have it too good since my elected officials represent easily R+20 areas (I would estimate).

    The NRA has the money to be able to fly and bus people around, but they are also viewed as a lobbyist organization who rightly cannot be as helpful as individual unorganized citizen participation. Maybe it’s time to organize, disrupt, and yes, even ignore bad laws, and use the tactics of the left if we want to be heard.

    • Bitter says:

      The times when bussing people around matters is during GOTV efforts. And you’re right that it would be nicer to see NRA or their higher level volunteers working with clubs and low level volunteers to GOTV even within the state. We could use the person willing to lit drop who lives in a safe district with no competition dropping literature for candidates in the suburbs under fire.

      This could be organized at the local levels using only volunteers, but NRA needs to assist in making the connections. People won’t show up if we announce that Bitter is calling a meeting to sign up for things we need done to win, but they will if NRA says they are coming to town. NRA just needs to be a facilitator and trainer.

      I learned from a guy who was key in organizing to defeat the Massachusetts handgun ban. Talk about an uphill battle, but one focused on exclusively reaching the people since it was a ballot initiative. NRA flew him around the country at one point to talk about that and about what he did to oppose it. They don’t have to do that, but even some intense online training options with say, some of the Colorado recall organizers would be useful. They have a network that they aren’t using.

  13. Joe says:

    Remember everyone……it isn’t just Michael Bloomberg and his mafia funding this gun-ban movement. The entirety of the Democrat Party Billionaire Donor Class is going “All In” to abolish the 2nd Amendment for 2018 and beyond.

    Tom Steyer, Paul Allen, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, Tim Cook, and many other members of the Democrat Party Billionaire Donor Class, located in Silicon Valley and Wall Street are funding this gun-ban movement, as other leftwing splinter-factions.

    Labor Unions like the SEIU, AFL-CIO, National and State-Wide Teacher’s Unions, The Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, Centers For American Progress, National Organization For Women, and Obama’s Mafia; Organizing For America, are all going to be funding and organizing the “March For Our Lives” gun-ban movement to abolish the 2nd Amendment. March 14th and March 24th is when it will begin.

    The 2nd Amendment is in jeopardy right now.

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      Joe,

      Just curious. Are you new to the gun rights movement? You remind me of the new investor who becomes frantic when the markets drop a few percent in a week. Are you in this for long haul? Maybe your talents are better spent directly taking to politicians rather than strategy? You seem to be on a trigger fuse.

      • Joe says:

        I’m just pissed off that our side is “winning” Elections, but is on defense right now.

        I had been hoping that the Short Barrel Shotgun and Short Barrel Rifle (SBS & SBR) Provisions of the 1934 NFA would’ve been repealed, along with the imposition of National Reciprocity by now under a Unanimous, Trifecta, GOP Controlled Government.

        Instead, our 2nd Amendment Rights are being chipped away, and The Communist Democrats are on offense right now.

        • HappyWarrior6 says:

          I get that. Pisses me off too. Up until a few months ago we had a guy who hung around here who oddly disappeared after the LV shootings (weird coincidence) who could always tell us about the frustrations with gun politics in PA dating back to the Ridge Administration such as the birth of PICS, the RoS, transport laws, etc. and complain about the same thing with Republicans back then. Nothing new. PA has lots of typical self-serving politicians who want it both ways.

          I am now seeing a thread on PAFOA about a view Scott Wagner (endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate) espoused on WHP radio that he would “consider” raising the ownership age to 21 for rifles. Again… We do not have a “perfect” candidate because quite frankly a candidate who is 100% with us on guns and is a true believer may not be the best overall candidate who can win. How many times have we seen this? It’s very easy for any candidate over 21 to support that particular view because it doesn’t affect most of us. That’s how they see it, because to them they do not live and breathe these issues like us. So it’s our job to hold their feet to the fire regardless of their NRA rating.

          That’s the common theme here. Don’t rest after “your guy” gets in. This is what happens. If we live with this mantra in mind with our daily actions then we should not be so pissed off.

          • Zermoid says:

            I’ve said and wondered for years why someone at 18 is allowed to buy rifles and shotguns, join the military and use machine guns, bombs and artillery, yet cannot buy a handgun at home!
            Personally I think handguns should be lowered to 18, not long guns raised to 21.

      • RAH says:

        Joe is right The gun rights community got lazy and complacent. The activists that have researched and then targeted retail sellers like REI were effective They knew that a gun manufacturer sold Camelback and then made REI a target from the hundreds of democratic followers. The Planned Parenthood people helped though that is far from our single issue.
        We should recruit not just shooters and hunters but other groups that enjoy outdoor activities Campers and hikers. Rock climbers and rafters . The Boating community.

        I notice in the Great Eastern show that the discrimination was to one vendor and then a bunch of vendors that sold other unrelated stuff supported them That is what we need

    • dwb says:

      Its true: government employee unions and other leftist groups are fighting hard like their survival depends on it. Because they are under attack from many different fronts, from bloated unfunded pensions, to the Supreme Court, to state legislatures. Gun rights is only one front – but its does threaten their power since it reduces carve-outs for government employees.

      NRA needs to transform and fight like its survival depends on it, because it does.

      Speaking of government employee unions, it always makes me very nervous that the NRA is loosely aligned with “law enforcement.” Elected Sheriff organizations – good. Police unions – bad. I am concerned long term police unions are too aligned with Democrat institutions and dont reflect our interests (law enforcement carve outs are always bad, for example). Also, they are hated in urban areas which hinders outreach in cities. Self Defense is a constitutional right, but police unions are mostly about preserving their monopoly on this. I can give quite a few other reasons. Fundamentally, the 2nd Amendment should be a check on state monopoly power over self defense. Government employee unions always and everywhere will carve out special rules for their constituents. In urban areas, they are hated because they abuse other civil rights too.

      We need to keep in mind… carry laws came about in many places to give the police power to stop people after Terry v Ohio. Gun rights are intertwined with many others. If the NRA transformed to a true civil rights org, it would look very different.

  14. ignorantmillennial says:

    What if the community got behind an anti-violence omnibus bill to put in place a number of approaches that aren’t gun control?

    Example

    Write up a bill like this, give it a snazzy anti-violence/mass shooting/whatever name, and go all in pushing it.

    – If we believe violence is a problem, this shows we care and have ideas that should be common ground. (Even if we don’t believe this, clearly a lot of other people do.)
    – If we believe such proposals are good, passing them should reduce violence and take some of the heat off.
    – If the anti-civil rights crowd refuses to back these types of proposal there is a clear angle for making the case far and wide that serious options were presented and ignored because they weren’t gun bans.

    Is this not a way to win hearts and minds amoungst those that avoid anti-civil rights extremism?

  15. RAH says:

    We also need to promote gun activities to schools The NRA has Eddie Eagle but still in middle schools kids can learn to become trap and skeet shooters . Make up programs and then market them to schools as positive way to handle guns, especially in inner cities.
    Introduce the junior hunter programs and have experienced hunters offer to take kids hunting.

    • Chris says:

      The schools are controlled by the NEA and AFT. The leadership of these unions is very anti gun. The teachers as a group are anti gun. It will not fly unless imposed, except in a few very rural areas.

      That’s what happens when you give up control of entire institutions. You have no influence.

      I agree that schools are key but access is a very, very uphill climb. Even an air rifle team is a tough sale in many areas.

      Example:
      http://www.mcrecordonline.com/opinion/article_2dd871d6-2214-11e8-986f-6bf1383d79d0.html

      “The Huntsville School District sent a strong message Monday night when it voted to expel two students over a social media post in which one of the students was photographed holding an AR-15 rifle.”

      • Alpheus says:

        I see no reason why the NRA can’t sponsor sports teams independent of middle and high schools, though. Additionally, when the kids post their pictures of their activities, we need to make it clear to them that they need to keep their social media pictures in context — and make it clear that their pictures aren’t threats.

        In looking at the story you provided, the photo was of a kid in a trench coat holding an AR-15, with no caption to put the picture in context. To me, that conjures up feelings about Columbine. Whether that’s fair or not, it’s in the background of our societal consciousness.

        However, if the kids have hearing protection and goggles, are holding a target and a rifle, and have a big smile on their face, with the range in the background, and a comment about how it’s been their best competition ever? While we can’t rule out the possibility of a school board suspending the kid, the pro-NRA blowback will be EPIC!

  16. RAH says:

    Many shooters and hunters enjoy outdoor activities I would like to start a letter writing campaign to REI to complain about how we are offended that they pulled products due to the parent company That we will organize groups to stop buying from REI.
    These activist have been doing training for the last decade There are over 30,000 of these trained activists Sure we have 5 million NRA but how many have taken the time to train and organize groups?

    • SPQR says:

      Don’t bother, REI intentionally screws hunters and fishermen. Long standing policy, they don’t want our business.

  17. RAH says:

    Gun clubs can go to schools and offer come to range night and learn to shoot. We need to make our sport fun and available It has been fairly exclusive for many.

  18. RAH says:

    Isaac Walton Legaue has some ranges and they can be helpful We need to get young people involved . We have left the field to the liberal anti gun groups that have indoctrinated students in the schools.

  19. So Bass Pro caved to the SJWs whom never have nor will spend a dime in their stores and stabbed gun owners and women in the back. The Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League and Massachusetts Women Gun Owners were sponsoring the First Annual Concealed Carry Fashion Show at Bass Pro Shops in Foxboro, MA outside Gillette Stadium and Bass Pro corporate canceled “because of guns”. Several members of the GOAL BoD and a whole bunch of volunteers poured their time, effort, and money into this event, and Bass Pro Shops cancelled it at the 11th hour. Less than two days before it was supposed to happen – and way too late to change venues.

    Boycott Bass Pro!

    • Zermoid says:

      Now That’s a Low Blow!
      Weren’t there any signed agreements/contracts for the use of the space?

  20. Richard says:

    This is never going to work as long as we have 65M leftists inside our country. We have to seize the moment and use all our power to “encourage” them to secede and then let them go.

  21. Alpheus says:

    This post resonates strongly with me.

    Shortly after the Florida shooting, I learned that there’s a march planned for Utah Capitol Hill on March 24. I have been trying to find information on any counter-marches that we could attend, but I have been unable to find information about it.

    I am aware of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, but it’s driving me nuts: I’m not entirely sure who to contact, and so far, my (admittedly limited, due to time constraints) efforts feel like they disappear into a black hole….

    I will likely go alone if I had to, but I will likely be late because of a meeting I’ll be attending in the morning.

    And I can’t help but wonder: how many other people are there, like me, who know about the protest, but don’t know what to do about it? How many people would be there, *if* they knew about the anti-gun protest in the first place? How do I get myself plugged into such networks?

  22. Chris says:

    NRA has some major problems.

    I’m an officer for a club and instructor. I’ve asked for materials to hand out (brochures, business cards, flyers, whatever) to students and the public. Its been months — can’t get any sent. We can pay for postage and repro costs. Cool. :-

    I’m an instructor. When I order supplies, it takes 3+ weeks for them to arrive. I never get tracking info. I’ve got one box that’s at the 5+ week mark, no tracking #, no answer from NRA’s supply division via phone or email. I had to get a local NRA TC to contact them to even get a response. Per NRA policy I need official student packets for all students; no photocopying certificates.

    I’m a volunteer instructor making no $$$. Everything is run on a break even basis.

    How do you expect me to bring people into the shooting sports and perform the mission of the organization with zero logistical support? Get out of the way and let me reproduce the materials on my own if you can’t figure out how to throw student packets and some brochures into a flat rate box and mail them out in less than a month.

    NRA needs to spend some time looking at the health of the Education division and the Competition division. Both are struggling in substantive ways. They are how you bring in new shooters and keep them engaged in a meaningful way.

    • Zermoid says:

      This sounds alot like what I posted separately, all they seem to do is push for our money, but for what?
      What exactly do we get for our money?
      Seems not much anymore, when even those working fairly directly with the NRA, their trained instructors can’t get needed materials out of them how much do us regular members get?

  23. HappyWarrior6 says:

    Remembeer National School Shield? I do. That came above after Sandy Hook. I’ve not heard Dana, Cam, Colion, or Wayne speak about it at all.

    https://www.nationalschoolshield.org/

    I remember Wayne trotting Asa Hutchinson out at the National Press Club to talk about it. That was 2013.

    As if we all needed another reminder how out of touch NRA leadership is. And this is an *existing program* with grant funding available.

    • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

      Right, why have we never heard about this again?

      And why does the NRA’s youth site look like it was made in 1999? Way to get the youth involved there NRA.

      • Bitter says:

        I just checked out that site. Most websites in 1999 looked better than that one. I’d say that was more of a 1995 website, being generous.

        It just highlights that they don’t view it as a priority.

  24. dwb says:

    As if to illustrate this point: I tried to lookup the NRA rating for the Lamb v Saccone race and could not find it. NRA has not rated this race, even though its pretty important.

    Lamb sounds like a blue dog Democrat, pro gun and centrist (and I am always eager to support a fellow Central Catholic alum), but we’ve been burned before on that. How do we know we can trust him on this?

    • HappyWarrior6 says:

      Your parenthesized note is your answer. You really *can’t* trust a “pro-gun” politician unless you know him personally and have spoken to him and are that convinced that you could report back to this board and say you can vouch for him. So can you vouch for him? Do you have back channels via your alumni network? Beyond that it’s pretty much letting the test of time be the ultimate judge. Casey folded pretty quickly, making me believe he was just paying lip service. I would not have voted for Casey due to him clearly trying to ride his father’s coattails when he was pretty much a proxy for the far left to make further inroads into PA politics. Personally, I would probably not vote for Lamb considering he takes the “personally opposed, but won’t do jack shit about it” line regarding abortion. That would bring him closer to the Joe Biden contingent.

      I can say that a pro-gun Dem winning in Western PA would be helpful to the 2A movement. Lamb is also a former prosecutor and has been quoted from the KDKA debate that most crimes he prosecuted dealt with handguns and that bans are not effective. He and Ricky Sack would probably have about the same influence in committee assignments, so nothing lost there.

      Do you trust more than half of the GOP officials to do the right thing when a crisis hits? I can say after this last event that we should open the field to either party when they won’t “other” us.

  25. Lucky Forward says:

    Lyft is giving free rides to gun grabbers; this is from an interesting website that scores companies on Gun Rights and other issues:

    https://www.2ndvote.com/lyft-providing-free-rides-anti-2nd-amendment-protesters/

  26. Lucky Forward says:

    At least one group is claiming that *shareholder* push-back could work for Gun Rights; the warning from the group is, fight back against corporations now, before they permanently go down the socialist drain like academia:

    https://nationalcenter.org/2018/02/28/left-uses-corporate-america-attack-nra/

    http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/28/corporations-are-lining-up-to-become-liberal-guns-for-hire/

  27. WhyBother says:

    It does not matter what we say here. We (blogs like this) are the grassroots. Every decision made is to benefit Ack-Mac. Every tragedy is used as a justification for Ack-Mac to control more and more decisions. They ARE the NRA now. That’s what the A in NRA stands for.

  28. Zermoid says:

    I still support the NRA in the most part, as they are, sadly, the best defense of our freedoms I know of.
    But that said I really don’t “Like” them.
    Anyone remember them saying after the GCA was passed that they would have it repealled in a couple of years I believe it was? I’m still waiting…..
    They seem to be more interested in selling us crap, like their carry guard crap, that you can get cheaper and better elsewhere without the NRA logo on it.
    Their only good thing in my opinion is the candidate scorecard. THAT is a great help for gun owning voters, and I share mine with all my friends who can’t quite see why I pay money to a company, which is what it feels like anymore rather than an organization of the members, that only gives you a second rate gun mag and a few stickers for your car. And honestly I have a hard time arguing that anymore, even as I just sent in my renewal for two more years…..

  29. Bill C. says:

    There is of course something else that is highly problematic that nobody seems to really do much about fixing: the unwillingness of our side to be similarly dedicated to eradicating the anti gun political movement as they are to doing the same to us. There are a significant number of people and/or a few people with large resources who are willing to go to such lengths to basically remove us as a cultural, social, and political presence, so much so they consider it a life mission to do so. Currently to date they face little to no penalty or cost when they try and fail, whereas if we fail to stop them we lose significantly. Thus their efforts win or lose cost them nothing they are unwilling to spend or risk. THAT is our biggest problem. For some reason, and this seems totally screwed up to me, our side seems perfectly content to only stall them one day at a time, exacts very little to no material punishment upon them, and makes virtually no plan whatsoever for an end to their predations. To defeat an enemy properly there are exactly two ways: crush them entirely so that there exists no further enemy in person and/or with resources left to fight, or inflicting damage upon them so severe and/or elevating the price of continuing to fight so high that it is unacceptable in their minds to do so, that avoiding that cost exceeds their motivation to do what they wanted to do. WW2 was brought to an end because we inflicted #1 on Germany and #2 on Japan.

    I am not sure at what point we lost that clarity but it is about damned time we get clear on it. This entire mess on our hands in Florida is the DIRECT result of not finishing the ****ing job.

    We WON in Florida in 86 with shall issue. We WON in Florida and elsewhere in 2004 with the Clinton Ban sunset. We’ve been winning in getting more and more CCW’s issued to a broader segment of the population. But we keep failing in FL and elsewhere in eradicating the anti gun political movement. We need to stop screwing up and stop screwing around. Why an organization with 5 million members and top officers making six to seven figure salaries somehow can’t grasp this is just…well, I lack words to describe how appalling that is.

    Now, what does that mean, exactly? What have we been overlooking? Start actually doing stuff that isn’t just letter writing and voting once every couple of years. That means making local political donors accountable–stop calling politicians and start calling them. Kick out anti gun school board members–ALL OF THEM. Ditto university trustees. Be visible in our communities and involved in churches, country clubs, and any other significant social and civic organizations and if there’s anti gun people running them, replace them with yourself or someone you know who is for us. Be sociable: have people over to your house a lot, grill out in the backyard, and network the same way you would for business but for social influence. Having attained that, if any of your schools have any of that crap about students joining the anti gun demonstrations and the superintendent allowing it, or especially praising it, FIRE HIS/HER *** NOW. Basically it needs to be Operation Gomorrah on any and all of the anti gun cultural establishment.

    Then, as for the NRA as the organization itself: START TALKING TO THE PUBLIC EQUALLY! We have a lot of our people writing articles appearing in gun magazines and websites–we need to be in everywhere else. What appears in American Rifleman needs to be in Southern Living, Vogue, Sports Illustrated, GQ, Time, The Wall Street Journal, etc. NRATV? Yeah no…needs to be on stations on the dial that are watched by non-gun owners. We need to be in conversations as a topic that gets equal exposure to our reality as anything else portrayed on TV or online or in print. “Oh but the liberals own all that…” Stop making excuses. GET IT DONE.

    Also, quit just winning easy things and quit losing big things. NRA’s biggest problem is its lack of ability to generate enthusiasm, right? Well, can’t get fans to cheer for a sports team that goes 3-8 in the regular season only beating powder puffs and losing all the big ones. Constitutional carry in a shall issue state that a license costs $30 is something on paper, but please.
    We need that in New Jersey or Massachusetts. California and New York, hello? “Whaa whaa…big cities”… uhm yeah, winning big games is what we pay you for–don’t win, coach gets fired and we get someone in there who will win. But for some reason we don’t.

    • Bill C. says:

      Exhibit A: California and New York. The fact that Cuomo, Brown, and Malloy can prance around in proud defiance and do what they want and publicly spit in our face is why we’re not so enthusiastic–I for one am tired of the endless “Whaa whaa…big cities, NYC runs everything” as a pathetic excuse. Our side should crush Cuomo under our heel. “But we don’t have the power”… uhm…get the power, that’s your freakin’ job.

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