Since the spate of events where multiple people were murdered with long guns, many politicos have been raging that we must do something. Every sane person wants to end these mass murders committed by deranged individuals. Our citizens should feel safe when they leave their homes, go to a grocery store or a sporting event at their local school. Many point at the NRA, but mostly by those who do not understand the organization.
It should not surprise anyone that the people yelling the loudest are the least versed about the NRA. These individuals typically only encounter people with guns who are their security guards or policemen. They don’t really understand why anyone would want to own a gun. They have little curiosity to discover why someone would own a gun and less interest to attempt to empathize with those gun owners. They don’t even begin to grasp the concept of a person owning an AR-15. They think “AR” stands for assault rifle. It is for the company that developed the gun — Armalite rifle.
They think that the NRA is a nefarious organization bent on ruining the lives of Americans. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors (city council) declared the NRA a “Domestic Terrorist Organization.” They ordered their staff to review the relationship their vendors and contractors have with the NRA. You can see this being part of any vendor paperwork and the supervisors potentially extending that to employees. If you are thinking “that’s just San Francisco; they are off their rockers,” don’t bet other cities won’t follow with similar proposals unless the courts shut them down.
Some might argue the NRA is the single most significant organization that educates gun owners – members or not – regarding proper maintenance, safety and securing of guns. That is important, but the anti-NRA people have probably heard that before and disregard that fact.
The NRA (of which I am neither a member nor am I a gun owner) is different than almost any other non-profit organization. Their members don’t join because they see it as a cause. They don’t join this organization like people whose Aunt Sally contracted a disease and they became aware of the disease and have now become warriors to cure the disease. Nor do they join because an organization might enhance their business lives while they are doing something good for humanity.
This organization has likely not changed any of its members’ minds on gun ownership or on the Second Amendment. The (estimated) five million members — plus an estimated 95 million gun owners who have chosen not to join – have long-held beliefs about guns separate from the NRA. The only reason they have banded together in an organization is because they believe there are anti-gun nuts on the other side attempting to take away their God-given rights as validated in the U.S. Constitution.
These people nearly in unison believe the following:
1. They abide by the laws regarding their guns. The people who use guns in crimes or mass shootings are not members of the NRA nor are they supporters. Not one person who has committed a mass shooting has been an NRA member. If the person was a member, that would be the lead story of the mass shooting; not how many were murdered or injured.
2. Enjoy their guns and believe in legal gun ownership and usage.
3. They believe if any type of gun is taken away (like semi-automatic long guns), they (the legal gun owners) would be prohibited from using those guns. Not the criminals.
4. Any restriction of gun ownership would only stop legal gun owners from ownership, not those obtaining guns illegally.
5. They believe the term “assault rifle” comes from anti-gun nuts who have never held a gun and never took the time to learn there are significant differences between military rifles and the ones they own. Given a chance they would explain to the unknowing the difference while wondering why this matters because I have a right to this long gun.
6. That their use of guns for target shooting or hunting is their personal choice and should remain their personal choice.
7. They believe their gun ownership is for either protection against dangerous critters if they live in the country or dangerous humans if they live in more urban areas. They believe they have the right to defend themselves.
8. That their ownership of guns protects them from a government taking over the country. Whether that be in countries no longer in existence like the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or whether it would-be modern-day Hong Kong/China or Venezuela, guns in the hands of only the government is a danger to the citizens of that country.
9. The more the anti-gun nuts harass the NRA, the more the 95 million gun owning non-members are driven to become members.
10. They believe Robert O’Rourke’s statement on the debate stage that “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15 and your AK-47” openly confirms what they have always known. Yes, they are coming for our guns. When they are done with those guns then they will make an excuse to come for the next ones.
For these reasons and more, the members of the NRA joined the organization; but, if the NRA went away, they would still hold these beliefs. Another organization would probably rise and that organization might have greater membership, but their core beliefs regarding guns and gun ownership would not change one iota.
They look at the efforts to restrict gun ownership kind of like IRS audits. The IRS typically audits someone who files their tax returns timely and complies with the law. They do that because that is easy. They don’t go after the people who don’t file or are paid in cash as part of the underground economy because that would be hard work. Thus nothing changes.
The members of the NRA look at the restrictions of gun ownership or ammunition acquisition as being lazy work for the anti-gun nuts. Calling the organization to which they belong a domestic terrorist organization is lazy work. It restricts the legal owners and users of guns, but does nothing to stop the illegal gun owners. That would be hard work.