News Flash: You Are
The ‘Gun Lobby’

Large brick buildings don’t vote, people do!

The late Neal Knox used to open every speech, every public appearance, with a trademark greeting — “Hello, Gun Lobby!”

He wasn’t poking fun at the audience. He was reminding them of the simplest truth: The “gun lobby” is people who should use their votes judiciously.

The past several months have seen turmoil surrounding the National Rifle Association, giving the gun prohibition movement endless glee and far too much confidence. They’ve lost sight of the fact they are not up against a large building in Fairfax, Virginia but are fighting a formidable force of men and women who long ago figured out this struggle is not about guns at all, it’s about rights.

You, and a hundred million people just like you — people who own firearms for any number of reasons — have the means and the motive to become their worst nightmare. It’s because these gun-haters are not simply trying to take away your guns, they are trying to take away your rights. If history should have taught the world anything, it would be the notion Americans are unique individuals, capable of patience, compassion and diplomacy, but woe unto anybody who tries to trample their rights.

Push the American — and in particular, the American gun owner — too far, and whole political parties (along with their anti-rights allies) risk waking up on the morning after an election, wondering what fell on them. Don’t believe it? Ask Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ask the 50-plus Congressional Democrats who found themselves suddenly out of jobs after the 1994 midterms. You did it and you can do it again.

Last month, this column warned about five mistakes gun owners couldn’t afford to make as the national election looms. Now we’re going to talk about some things you must do if you wish to pass along the tradition — and right — of gun ownership to your children, their children and generations yet to come.

Set an example, be a leader. Step forward to run for your town or city council, planning commission, school board or county commission and be serious about it. If you don’t care to run, find someone you can support, someone whose views closely represent yours — but remember, you may not always agree. However, agreeing with someone 75-80 percent of the time is far better than having someone in office with whom you disagree 100 percent of the time.

Don’t ever think this isn’t important, because the gun prohibition lobby in Washington already proved it is important. When the anti-rights mindset creeps into local politics, you need to confront it and fight back.

Attend council sessions and pay attention. Become known in this environment as somebody who listens and is keeping an eye on those people sitting at the council dais.

Set aside money to support a candidate. Money is the lifeblood of politics. Anybody who can go to a gun show and spend hundreds of dollars on guns or ammunition can certainly cut a check for $25 or $50 to help elect a pro-Second Amendment candidate. Not only can it help put such a person in office, it puts you on their radar screen as a supporter.

You don’t need a “middleman” entity to decide where your money goes. You make the decision and get your fellow activists to do likewise — and do it more than once.

If you can’t give money, give your time. Volunteer to work on a campaign. Show the world gun owners are just like anybody else who is interested in their community and efficient government. You’ll be surprised at the friends and allies you might make.

Study the issues and ask the hardball questions. Candidates for office, and politicians running for re-election want your vote. You can challenge these people — politely of course — in public forums, at Townhall gatherings, local fundraisers, summer picnics or anywhere they show up to sell their candidacy.

Keep tabs on who contributes to campaigns. If some politician is getting money from a gun control group, it’s public information. The other side likes to ask conservatives if they are getting money from the “gun lobby,” but it’s a two-way street. You can ask somebody if they’re getting donations from, for example, the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.

Your state has a “Public Disclosure Commission” or something similar and the law requires campaigns to make regular reports. Keep your eye on these things.

Be savvy to pretenders. If a candidate for office claims to “support the Second Amendment … but,” or says “I shot guns as a kid” or “my brother is a hunter,” the needle on your Stink-O-Meter should be off the dial. Such a candidate is virtually guaranteed to throw your interests under the nearest bus.

Thanks to social media, you can expose these people.

Take notes and keep them. Under no circumstances fabricate quotes from someone if you share anything on social media.

Vote, and make sure your family, friends and fellow shooters vote. You’ve got one shot at this in November. Put it in the bull’s eye.
When Neal Knox referred to an audience as the “gun lobby,” he was spot-on. Millions of gun owners are the strength of the Second Amendment movement. It’s your work, your money, your activism and ultimately your votes making the difference

Four years ago, gun owners made the critical difference in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and elsewhere. If someone says otherwise, and tries to play down the importance of the “Second Amendment vote,” trying to diminish your importance, they are living in denial.

And don’t ever forget: The majority party sets the rules and controls the agenda.

This year’s election could be for all the marbles. This election is in your hands. Treat it like your firstborn child. Protect it. Make it grow into something you can be proud of. Do not allow it to be ripped from your arms and do not betray it.

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