What are the Factors Working Against Us?

The thought has occurred to me that gun rights did better in the first two years of Obama’s term than we have so far after a supposedly stunning election upset. How did we get here, and what factors are working against us. I have a few things:

  • Bloomberg by far is the biggest factor. I’d follow that closely by Obama’s organization. Between them there is a lot of money, smarts, and organizational ability available to promote gun control. Those things are very important.
  • Trump is a highly divisive figure and is about the best lightning rod that the Dems could have asked for. While I think it’s true that any candidate who beat Hillary would have been Hitler, Trump galvanizes people in a way I’ve seen from no other President. People on the right didn’t much like Obama, but even Obama wasn’t the lightning rod Trump is. People generally liked Obama even if they hated his policies. Trump isn’t getting the same consideration.
  • Our activists are getting old and tired. They are not being replaced by people with youthful energy. If you look at analysis of the March for your Guns, the other side actually has the same problem. The general trend, if you ask me, is that millennials are far more removed from traditional civic life than past generations. I actually think millennials are more civic minded than my generation, but their views on civic life are very different. They are far less cynical than my generation, but they are also far more naive.
  • Decline in hunting. For all the bullshit about the Fudds you hear, those guys are really the minority of hunters. The fact is that most hunters support gun rights, even if they don’t hunt with the stuff you and I like to shoot with. Hunters are a natural and large base for the gun rights movement, and the idea that we’re going to be able to hold the line with just a bunch of IDPA and IPSC shooters is nuts. The decline in hunting will hurt us.
  • NRA has gotten complacent, far too reliant on gun owners self-organizing, and far too reliant on their main PR firm. I think they need to seek out a diversity on views about how they promote their public image. Unlike some people, I’m not viscerally opposed to Ack-Mac being involved with NRA, but I think NRA should invite in some competing views in that area. They also need to really start making major investments in traditional grassroots organizing. They need membership that are active rather than passive consumers of NRA’s product.
  • The Republican Party has no competition for the gun vote. The reason we did better in Obama’s first two years? The Dems were competing for gun votes with the GOP. You’re seeing a lot of Republicans take a stand on the assault weapons issue, but give into the gun control folks on other issues. They are letting Bloomberg demand a whole slice of our cake, offering him a half slice and then coming back to us and saying “See, we saved you half a slice. Don’t you love us?” No assholes, do something for us. They deserve to be richly punished, but they also know if the Dems are polling at 40% for repealing the Second Amendment, with sweeping gun bans and other restrictions polling even higher, they don’t have to do much for us. Again, we can take our ball and go home, but that basically means no one will give a shit what we think and we’ll get steamrolled. It’s forfeiting the game.

The common theme here is demographic trends are catching up to us. Bloomberg’s money is by far the biggest factor. There isn’t enough passion for gun control out there for it to self-organize, but if money is no object, and you have a lot of smart Obama people who suddenly found themselves out of a job and needing a cause, you can accomplish quite a lot with a top-down approach.

59 thoughts on “What are the Factors Working Against Us?”

  1. I would assume it’s the “no compromise” owners who think they can simply sit in the corner shouting “MUH RIGHTS” and win.

    I had an argument about that over bump stocks last night. Some don’t understand how politics and government works. Others couldn’t understand Sebastian’s position on a strategic retreat from bump stocks and got pissy about it.

    1. It’s been said before, but I think we can keep the fundamental aim of “no-compromise” as long as we get something in return. You want bump stocks? Fine, give me back suppressors. I think making judicious/wise trades on the regulatory front allows us to hold the line but redirect a bit of the pressure. I know loud voices on the left will never give up trying to crucify us as intolerant, but if there’s a middle ground, I believe it’s in that style. It’s more of an aikido approach rather than a ‘build and hold the levy’ approach.

      1. I think the issue we’re dealing with is the opposition doesn’t want to trade, and they believe demographics will deliver them what they want if they just hold out long enough for it. The Dems I believe are betting Trump is basically the right’s Ardennes Offensive, and they’ll be in Berlin before you know it. If they fail in 2018, they might start re-examining, but for now they aim to crush the flyover rubes.

        1. I worry about that exact analogy. (Something-something about watching out for those damn Russians)

          The gun grabbers either own (worst case) or have coalition with (best case) the education system, the media institutions, the government employees. How do you counter that in a multi-generational fight?

          As much as I hate to say it, this is where I start nodding with Republican establishment on some of the other issues even if our motivations may not always be aligned: breaking the public sector unions, applying more scrutiny to education funding and what’s being taught in those schools, protecting corporate/pac ‘speech’ as the only viable counter to mass media. It’s a double-edged sword, for sure.

      2. If the discussion was on a business deal or some public works project I would agree. However, how can we define a right as something you can have only partially. Either you have the protection of the Bill of Rights or you do not. We have seen in such measures as the NFA that any compromise is lost forever.
        I think we need to be more “no-compromise” and find demographics that are not currently committed and get them committed, like women that carry.

        1. Finding more gun voters is the only way you can avoid having to make compromises we don’t like. A lot of people who shout “no compromise” don’t get that.

      3. If they take the bump stocks, then repeal the Hughes Amendment to FOPA so we can have our Machine Guns again.
        The Amendment actually failed a voice vote, but Rangel refused to call a floor vote and passed it anyway.
        Rangel took away our Machine guns illegally.

    2. The NRA membership are like a dull-witted child playing with a broken toy. The NRA has been at the forefront of gun control for more than a century. You’ve been had.

      1. But sure. Fred is smart. He can see what others can’t. Listen to Fred. The rest of you fools can suck it.

        That about sum it up?

  2. To be fair to Trump, the leftists only hate him as much as they hated Reagan, which was to the max. They’re haters like that.
    Biggest problem with Trump is the left’s “redirection of aggression” against gun owners. They have been all keyed up and organized in an insane level of Trump hate, and then they had the MSM whip them into a further frenzy over Parkland, and aim them at us.
    Now that they’ve turned the dial up to 11, and called for the repeal of the Second Amendment, we have them where we want them for the midterms – in a position so radical as to be untenable.

  3. Do you have ideas to help millennials learn activism? My twin bother and I (older millennials) recently started a blog where we write down our thoughts to think through the issue:


    We didn’t grow up in a politically active family. Exactly the opposite if anything. In fact, I don’t know anyone that did. I’ve dabbled on the edges of this issue for years, but have mostly encountered:

    – Issue mixing. I don’t care about most right wing causes.
    – Lots of millennial blaming, which I can get anywhere. Seriously, every young adult generation suffers from this, but thanks to the Internet we’ve been bombarded with it for about 12 years now.

    1. Thanks, I’ve added you to my RSS reader. Let me take your questions and observations one by one:

      Do you have ideas to help millennials learn activism?

      You’re older millennials, so you probably have a lot of Xer in you. Bitter is technically an older millennial. Xers weren’t big joiners. If there’s any generation who doesn’t get civic engagement, it’s mine. I don’t know if there’s any magic bullet to activism, but if I had to boil it down, start building networks of like minded people. Doing it online is great, but local and concentrated action is better. I’m big on saving clubs right now, and building local networks that way. But it’s not the only way. Older guys will tell you they used to rely on fax chains and newsletters. We have much more powerful tools now, and unlike the old guys, we understand them in ways they don’t. These networks need help modernizing.

      Issue mixing. I don’t care about most right wing causes.

      Join the club. I agree it’s a big problem, but my only retort to that is that I have more appreciation for the need to coalition with other interests now than I did years ago. But coalitioning doesn’t mean if you’re a gun activist, you need to drag in abortion. Pick the issue that matters to you and stick to it. NRA needs to do a much better job of this even if they have to coalition to some degree.

      Lots of millennial blaming, which I can get anywhere. Seriously, every young adult generation suffers from this, but thanks to the Internet we’ve been bombarded with it for about 12 years now.

      Well, eventually it’ll be Generation Z who gets all the shit and you’ll be out of the hot seat. :) Then you can start bitching about kids these days too.

    2. So your position is to find a mythical one issue politician that happens to support gun rights OR elect a Libertarian? In a state like Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott would have been your man! Until he decided to choose gun rights as an issue to sacrifice. He was a liberal on every other issue. Who would have thought he would care about the 2A?

      Or are you actually looking for someone “principled” on the 2A?

  4. Do you think social media engagement is worthwhile? One reason I haven’t really been having this argument with people is that the gun control folks on FB/Twitter are so outright nasty, and I have no desire to get down in the mud with them (this includes friends who are perfectly reasonable in private conversations, but then I see their comments on other posts in my feed..)

    I talked with my fifth grader the other day about the march. Not surprisingly, she said it’s not a huge topic in elementary school, but that when it does come up, plenty of kids (and we’re in a very blue area where there are at least some parents who will enact their politics through their kids) are actually pro gun rights. So, that’s at least a little comforting.

    1. “Do you think social media engagement is worthwhile?”

      In my social circles everyone has retreated to their respective echo chambers, and any attempt to cross over is met with that same outright nastiness you mentioned.

      But something I’ve found is to target the local news’ social media. If you can get in a reasonable and polite post at the head of the conversation (and as such get the most views and likes early on, so it stays at the top and is self-reinforced), it seems to set the tone and pacing of the rest.

      Not only that, but it seems like a way to get your op-ed/letter to the editor published and seen more without them cherry picking what to publish or not.

      Not sure if it works, but it’s at least something.

      1. I really fear for you guys in Oregon with that Assault Weapons Ban Ballot Initiative.

        Please……you guys need to punish Bloomberg. Please defeat that Ballot in 2018.

        1. I fear for us too, and while Bloomberg may be bankrolling it, the scary part is that the locals are absolutely chomping at the bit to hurt gun owners.

          We’ll put up a good fight, I’ll tell you that much.

          1. The Left in this country, be it their voters on the ground, all the way up to the Fabian Socialist, Aristocratic Billionaire Donor Class that bankrolls them, is really trying to spark an insurrection in this Country.

    2. I do, but not with random strangers. You have to be dealing with people who know you to make a difference. And even then, the goal is to blunt the other side’s ability to demonize you in their eyes.

      If you do argue with random strangers, don’t argue without an audience. Your goal isn’t to convince the zealot, your goal is to convince the people who the zealot really is (e.g. not you) and to try to nudge them more toward your position.

    3. That said, I removed my Twitter presence because it’s an awful company and generally a sewer. I still use Facebook because of friends and family, but I can’t say I love Facebook either. Twitter sucks because it shows you that random strangers are ignorant jerks. Facebook sucks because it shows you that your friends and family are :)

  5. Stop using “Donald Trump is Divisive” as an excuse for being apathetic. The Democrats were bragging in dogwhistle fashion back in 2016 about Hillary Clinton winning in a landslide victory, and in the process, flipping Texas, Georgia, Arizona, and Missouri to Blue States because they thought they had enough fraudulent ballots and Illegal Aliens voting. They thought they had the ballot boxes stuffed to rig 2016, but Trump won.

    Any other GOP President would’ve stepped down from the WH by now. Also, people didn’t like Obama. I’ve had people in NJ, and even here in Ohio tell me that they voted for Obama in 08 or didn’t vote at all in 2012 because of Obama’s race. The “First Black President” BS is why Obama got elected and reelected.

    1. One thing I really have no problem preaching about, in terms of positive qualities of Trump, is that unlike all other Republican candidates, he didn’t consign himself to playing the media’s game of guilt, offense, etc. – he wasn’t having it, from the very first debates.
      All other republicans have been dancing the media’s dance, playing a role in their narrative, and it’s an inherently weak position. And honestly, all the others have been very weak politicians (Palin, McCain, Dole, Romney). I think Republicans choosing forces of personality from outside political circles, adept with driving the media, seems to work well.

      1. EXACTLY!

        We would be in worse shape with any other Republican besides Trump, Ted Cruz, or Rand Paul. Of those 3, Trump is the one we got.

        If Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or John Kasich, if any one of those 3 were President right now, they would’ve either resigned from the Presidency, handing over the 2018 and 2020 Elections to the Democrat Party in slam dunk fashion.

        Or, they’d try to get favor with the Democrats by signing an all-out ban on Semiautomatic Firearms of all kinds with the strings of police and military-state style, door-to-door gun confiscation, attached.

      2. Trump uses democratic tactics He bullies ,he mocks, ridicules without restraint. Surprisingly effective and he is on our side for a surprise. He has maintained good judges and conservative ideas except he is a big spender.Yet many white working class people were so desperate, they had to have government help to eat

        Even his trade polices focuses on getting better deals for the US For decades free trade meant other countries could sell to us but we could not sell to them.

        Manufacturing jobs are coming back So many small town where gun rights were so valued may survive.
        So long tern things may get better We have to fight the near term Pushing to get kids into gun sports is really important

        Sebastien you are in a club .See if they can sponsor high schools kids to become junior members\

          1. Great Now does your club market to the high schools? Basically think of shooting as a product that has to be marketed to a target audience In this case kids of high school age or middle school.
            Kids, especially males, love video games Now if a ad can be inserted to the local club to get kids to ask their parents they want to learn to shoot. That would be one method.

            1. When my son was young I had him in Boy Scouts so find the local troops and present the options to them. I got the kids to get their badges in rifle Then he went to Jamboree and his friends and him spent most of the time shooting shotguns .

  6. Just for the record, the left and Democrats hated George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and Ronald Regan with the same amount of anger and vitriol as they have towards Trump. There is nothing unique in their attacks on Trump, other than the fact that Trump has a considerable portion of the Republican Party who also dislike him because he’s hurt their monopoly on power.

    1. Agreed. Remember the stupid “Bushitler” bit. Now there’s just more intertubes, flame-baiting, and flash-mobbing. What’s the outrage going to be next week?

      1. The mobs are the difference. That shit came from the nutty left. Now those people are running the show, and a lot of people are getting on board with the crazy train.

      1. I agree. Not because Wayne is not good or maybe the best, but because he has been in place so long as to have too much baggage to be as effective as we need.

        I would like to see a component female in his spot. Maybe, someone that is a minority and squarely not willing to compromise.

  7. Bloomberg poured some money into Dem primaries for a reason. We need to pay far more attention to dem primaries if there’s a hope of bringing the blue dogs back. That’s the only solution I see to get the GOP competing for our votes again.

    1. Federally, that’s a valid point. What do we do about the state legislatures where the real fight is?

      1. Bloombrlerg also invests at the state level. He has even thrown money at school board candidates. In Oregon he put 250k towards the gov, and 250k towards van Hoyle in the primary for sec state. She lost but he was still pouring money in, likely because van Hoyle appears to be very hostile to the 2a and would be counting votes and certifying elections for several years.

        We need to look at the state level primaries too. That means running candidates that don’t suck, and supporting good campaigns early. At least providing a voting guide. Small donations in local campaigns go quite a ways.

    1. Youth are more pro-gun (and gun culture 2.0) than their parents…


      “That impression is supported by public opinion surveys finding that millennials are the age group least in favor of gun control. A 2015 Pew poll* found that only 49 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds favored an “assault weapons” ban, compared to 55 percent of those aged 30 to 49 and 63 percent of those 65 or older. A March 6 Quinnipiac poll, taken several weeks after the Parkland shooting, found that only 46 percent of 18-to-34 year olds support an assault weapons ban, rising to 51 percent for those aged 35 to 49, 68 percent for those aged 50-to-64, and 80 percent for those over 65.”

      And the the stats on the higher average age of gun control supporter still rang true with the “March for Our Lives” based on the stats from the attendance.

      1. I don’t think anything happened other than what we have always dealt with: money and control of the avenues to media messaging by our opponents. It just so happens this time they have a willing group of aggreviated kids who support their objectives to parade in front of them while the same people continue to write checks.

        And whoever pointee out that WLP needs go retire, I have mentioned this before and I agree. Dana waged the offensive for the NRA after Parkland. No one knows what Wayne actually does for us anymore. I say this with my NRA ballot on the kitchen table and zero motivation to fill it out at this point.

        1. What changed is Bloomberg’s money, for the most part. And money can buy you a lot. It can buy you allies.

          I think the time has come for Wayne to hand over the reigns, but Dana Loesch does not work for the NRA, and the outfit she does work for is one who NRA needs to reevaluate its relationship with.

          1. Heck, he didn’t even have to pay for his Ally at Citibank. He just had to give him a job!

  8. The problem is that we are trying to figure out how to fight the gun banners while our actual enemy is the entirety of the Left. Their Long March through the Institutions is almost complete now and they are using that high ground to notch one cultural victory after another. Now it is our turn as we are one of the last holdouts. Meanwhile, most of the Right does not seem to realize we are even in a fight. Whether it is the libertarian fantasies common here or the “bi-partisan” fantasy common among Republican leadership doesn’t matter. What they both have in common is the notion that you can compromise on issues with an existential enemy.

    My preferred solution to this mess is simply to partition the country and excise the cancer that lives in the Clinton Archipelago. Failing this, the best strategy is to break as many institutions that have been infected by leftists as possible. The Instapundit campaign against the tech industry fits this model as do Trump’s constant attacks on the media. Education reform strategies that reduce the scope of public K-12 and higher education is another way. Restricting home rule for big cities is another strategy. We actually pioneered this with preemption but that needs to spread to things like zoning, minimum wage, contracting etc. Whacking TBTF institutions is another approach. Criminalizing their political beliefs like they have criminalized ours is necessary. And forget about long-term consequences. There won’t be any long-term if we don’t start fighting fire with fire.

    1. Going back to Woodrow Wilson, it took us 100 years to get here……It’s gonna take 100 years to turn it all around.

      Donald Trump’s Election was the 1st step in thst turn around, but we can’t give up, and have to keep moving on from here.

  9. We got played this time because we were in condition white and the other side was preparing for war and ready to go at at moment’s notice.

    We thought with the rising gun sales and new concealed carriers everywhere for 10 years, we had won. Since Sandy Hook, which they took as a bitter defeat, they’ve hired organizers and foot soldiers to plan for the next big opportunity. Does anyone honestly think this sprang up as a genuine response to Parkland? And that within less than a week, a bunch of high school kids hired buses and made it to the state capital to demand gun control?

    That March in DC last weekend was Astroturf at its finest. Teens made up about 10% of the group; the demographic average was a 48 year old woman with a college degree. Teens were flown for free on private jets (New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s team plane) and on Delta airlines. Teens were seen buying lunch with $10 and $5 bills stapled to each other.

    We were just plain out organized and outspent since Sandy Hook.

    I’ve said it before, and I hate saying it because of the obvious retort, but our side really needs a billionaire. A funding equivalent of Bloomberg and Soros, both of whom throw around millions like they’re loose pennies from between their sofa cushions.

    While I think the role of money in elections is overstated, there’s no denying that billions of dollars can give the appearance of a lot of grass roots. I recall Harry Reid being so upset about the billionaire Koch brothers’ candidate donations that he dedicated time to attack them from the senate floor 134 times, but I find no evidence of anything like a pro-freedom version of Soros’ Tides Foundation, or Open Societies or any of his other monetary shell games, and I can find no evidence of anything like a pro-freedom Bloomberg’s Everytown or the Demanding Mommies.

    Second, and this just piles onto the previous advantage, the anti-freedom side has an inherent advantage in organization. The anti-freedom side wants central control in everything and that means an almost military organization/hierarchy. The reason they sprang into motion so fast after Parkland was that they were using those billionaire donations to be ready to spring. A decentralized bunch of gun rights advocates that are suspicious of central control going up against the organized anti-gun side is starting from way behind.

    The obvious retort to “we need a billionaire” is that we need EVERY gun owner to take the place of those millions Bloomberg/Soros spread around. “If something needs doing, do it yourself”.

    1. I think you’re spot on with your points. I didn’t even list the media in this whole scenario, because that’s also really part of Bloomberg’s money. His money can draw the media to a story, because it can make the story. The media amplifies what his money can buy, and it can buy media directly too. If I had to rank all those factors with a bar graph, Bloomberg’s money would be way out there, and the rest wouldn’t add up to that. But the consequence of that money is that we can’t rest on our laurels.

      On your other point about rising gun sales and carriers, one thing I’m coming to appreciate it where we’re minting new gun owners matters as much if not more than how many we’re minting. To take this issue to an extreme, to illustrate the principle, if every NRA member suddenly up and moved to Iowa, then Iowa would become the most pro-gun state in the union. But every other state would go to shit and we’d lose federally. I’d add some overarching factors too:

      • The left are packing and stacking themselves in a lot of minor cities as they flee high taxes and cost of living in the big cities, which are either losing population or static.
      • The right are packing and stacking themselves in sun belt suburbs, leaving the city dwellers in the states they are leaving to exercise more political control.
  10. I’ll tell ya someone else who isn’t helping us… This guy:


    That is front page stuff on AP websites now. This is GREAT stuff (for the anti-gun lobby) that keeps the David Hogg clown in the headlines longer than normal.

    I think one of the biggest things we can do now is ignore the David Hogg. The only way that he has stayed in the headlines has been due to unforced errors and the Bloomberg media contingent. First Laura Ingraham, then Ted Nugent.

    1. Ignoring Hogg is a mistake. He needs to be criticized and outright politically defeated over his antigun, anti political dissent, and anti Free Speech garbage. David Hogg has slandered, libel, defamed, and disparaged the NRA,GOA, their memberships, other gun-rights groups and the 95-135 million gunowners of America by calling them;

      1). Terrorist worse than ISIS
      2). Child Murderers
      3). Serial Killers
      4). Murderers with the blood of children on their hands.

      He and his “March For Our Lives”, leftist, slush fund, activists splinter faction are on a mission to abolish both the 1st and 2nd Amendments in one fell swoop. The gun-banners are now assaulting the 1st Amendment.

      Also, his little side-kick Emma Gonzalez was wearing the Flag of the Communist Dictatorship of Cuba on her Jacket at the March for Our Lives Rally. It shows you who these kids really are; like the Red Guards under Mao Zedong, and the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, or so at least, that is what Bloomberg and his cohorts are pushing them to be.

    1. I don’t think it’s that bad. But we’re not in as good a shape as we should be for having just won a major election.

  11. the decline in hunting is mostly because it has become harder and harder to get involved. here in NH, a one-day $20 hunter safety course in the 1980’s has turned into 20+ hours over a month and close to $300.

    they make it more difficult to hunt, then complain that less and less people do so.

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