Interview with Alan Gottlieb Part 1

National Gun-Rights Advocate Offers Winning Advice

Alan Gottlieb is the founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation
and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Do the math: Since January 2017, two new conservative pro-Second Amendment justices have been appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

More than 100 federal court vacancies have been filled with judges who appear to believe there are 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights, rather than nine plus a regulated privilege.

Want to keep this going? Then take some advice from one of the nation’s leading Second Amendment advocates — Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms — and put the next 12 months to the best possible use.

GUNS Magazine sat down with Gottlieb for an exclusive interview to get his insight into the present state of affairs for gun rights in the United States, and how to keep the momentum going to, as he has often said, “Make the Second Amendment great again.”

What should American gun owners be doing right now as the nation heads toward the 2020 election?

First of all, it’s really important for gun owners to become extremely engaged and active in the 2020 election cycle.

The best thing they can probably do that’s easy, and doesn’t cost them any money, is social media. Virtually everybody is on social media, between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and others. It’s really important to be out there sharing who your friends are, who your enemies are and what gun owners need to do.

Have you seen over the years and most recently how some gun owners seem to like fighting with each other more than uniting and fighting a common enemy? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to bury the hatchets for a while and get on with business?

I have not seen as much infighting in the last few years as sometimes I have seen historically. I don’t view it as that ‘giant’ a problem, but it’s important we really focus on our enemies and not ‘take on our friends,’ so to speak.

There are going to be a lot of candidates who are not 100-percent pro-gun but they’re going to be 75 or 80 percent pro gun and their opponents are going to be at 10 or “zero” percent. The bottom line is sometimes you’re going to have to vote for somebody or support somebody who isn’t 100 percent with us, but they’re with us most of the time. The logic is in a legislative body or congress, all you need is 51 percent of the votes and you win, so it’s important we build a strong enough coalition — even with people who aren’t 100 percent with us, but (at least) aren’t 100 percent against us.

Otherwise we’re going to have problems with legislation in various key states and Congress. So sometimes it’s important not to in-fight and pick on people … because, again, all you need is control.

The important thing right now is to get Democrats out of the U.S. House and get (President Donald) Trump re-elected and keep control of the Senate. If you get somebody in the Senate, say, Susan Collins, who isn’t always with us but if she’s re-elected in Maine, that means Republicans will probably control the U.S. Senate. If they control the Senate, they run all the committees and the legislation to see the good stuff gets through and the bad stuff doesn’t get through — that’s critical.

Same thing in the House as well, so it is crucially important we play smart in the elections and vote smart.

What about recruiting local candidates all the way from city council to the state legislatures?

A lot of gun owners don’t get involved on the local level. When it’s a prominent race, you see it on TV, read about it, they get engaged, but they don’t often get engaged — and that’s one of our problems — on the local level.

City councils, county councils, and judicial races on the lower level; it’s really important, and sometimes it’s a good idea for a local gun club to get one of its leaders to run for local office and throw their weight behind it. Because, if you don’t get involved, and don’t get the right people running, sometimes there are no choices on the local level. So you have to create choices so gun owners have people they can vote for.

What are some things gun owners tend to overlook? Money, I know, is a big factor.

Gun owners as a whole, a percentage of them are very engaged, very active, and donate, volunteer their time. But, by and large, a lot of gun owners are individualistic and they do their own thing, they don’t do things in group settings sometimes and therefore they don’t get engaged.

I hate to say it but a lot of surveys and public opinion work we’ve done shows in many cases gun owner voter-turnout is less than other groups. We have to make sure this changes, particularly in the 2020 election cycle.

We have to turn out larger numbers than the general population or other interest groups, particularly the anti-gun interest groups.

Editor’s Note: Check out the November issue of GUNS Magazine for the final part of this interview with Alan Gottlieb.

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