By Lee Williams
SAF Investigative Journalism Project
OPINION: Gun owners should be running the country given our numbers, at least that’s how it appears on paper.
According to Ballotpedia data from last year, of the 31 states that allow voters to publicly indicate their political party affiliation, roughly 48 million were Democrats and 36 million were Republicans. The rest were independents, unaffiliated or members of another political party. By comparison, there are an estimated 133 million gun owners in the country, or roughly 40% of the population – a massive number that dwarfs all party affiliations combined – according to the Pew Research Center.
If gun owners ever voted as one homogeneous bloc, we would be unstoppable. Unfortunately, we all know there are gun owners and then there are folks who own a gun. It’s like the difference between someone with an old Fender in their closet and Angus Young.
When you factor in those who work regularly to support the Second Amendment, the numbers drop off even steeper. This, friends, has always been our Achilles’ heel – complacency – the sense that someone else will do something to save the day. It has done us far more harm than Gabby, Brady or Bloomberg ever will, and it’s time to make a change.
We live in perilous times. We’ve never seen an administration more hellbent on infringing upon our Second Amendment rights, and their antipathy has trickled down to all political levels. Politicians today are ignoring our recent victories in the U.S. Supreme Court by sponsoring anti-gun legislation they know will not pass constitutional muster. It’s lawfare pure and simple, and it’s incredibly well organized. If our gun rights are to be restored, they want us to pay a massive financial price.
How do we counter their extreme anti-gun efforts? The best way – the only way – is by reenergizing our grassroots base and getting more people involved in the fight. Political power begins at the grassroots level. The gun-ban industry knows this, too. Why else do you think Bloomberg spends millions of dollars trying to make his Astroturf groups look like real grassroots organizations? He wants to create the impression that his extremist views are supported by real people. They aren’t. Ours are.
Today’s pro-Second Amendment team needs a deeper bench. If you want to become involved in the fight or more involved, here are some suggestions on how to get started:
It has never been easier to learn more about the perils facing the Second Amendment and its supporters than today. You don’t even need to leave the Barcalounger.
There are websites, newsletters, discussion groups, YouTube videos, radio programs, podcasts and much more all dedicated to supporting and defending our gun rights. The only limitation is the amount of time you can devote to your 2A education. If you can’t find a site that meets your needs, create one. It’s cheap and easy. Besides, nothing will force you to learn about the Second Amendment faster than by creating content for others.
Once you’re ready, it’s time to share your knowledge, because intelligence that is not shared does no one any good. Start small by taking a new shooter to the range. We all know no one has ever had a bad time at the range, especially if someone is there to offer guidance and safety. These new converts always bring an extra zeal.
Once you’ve achieved more fluency in all that is 2A, request in-person meetings with your elected officials regardless of their party affiliation. Talk to them about the importance of the Second Amendment and how much you will value their support. Tell them about the perils we are facing and current issues. Invite them to speak to groups, whether they’re like-minded or not. This is education, not lobbying. You’re not trying to sway their vote. Besides, if you can change the mind of just one politician, or at least open their eyes a little bit, you’ll be capable of anything.
Support pro-gun groups
Today, we’re blessed with a plethora of national pro-gun organizations, state-wide gun groups and more. California gun owners, because they operate behind enemy lines, have even created county-level groups out of necessity.
Join as many as you can, and if you can’t support them financially, support them with your time and efforts. Attend their rallies and participate in their campaigns. Your contributions will be priceless. Volunteers are the heart and soul of the pro-Second Amendment movement.
Use social media
Social media amplifies your message, regardless of the number of followers you have. It allows you to tout your successes and call out those responsible for your failures. You can support likeminded causes, people and groups. You can also pressure those who would strip us of our gun rights.
Simply put, social media is a very important tool, but don’t wed yourself to only one platform, such as Facebook. Become platform agnostic. Use as many as feasible, since it’s not about the messenger or the platform: It’s about the message, and it’s important it gets out.
Activism over advocacy
Websters defines advocacy as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.”
It defines activism as “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.”
What’s the difference? An advocate may post a notice of a pro-gun rally on social media. An activist shows up regardless of the weather or their voluminous to-do list, and most likely will bring friends.
There’s a time to advocate, and there’s a time for direct vigorous action. The Biden-Harris administration has created the need for more activism, and the need is immediate. They are waging a multi-front war against guns, gun owners and our gun rights, and they have the full support of multi-billionaires and the legacy media. All we have is each other. But while it may take much time and effort to win this fight, I certainly wouldn’t bet against us.
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