Obama's State of the Union message focused pointedly on his desire for yet more gun control initiatives. This is exactly what we predicted when he first got elected - that he would do nothing on guns in his first term, so as not to endanger his reelection. But once he no longer had to run again, watch out. And, as predicted, barely days after the 2012 election, the rumblings of gun control began.
But as radical and threatening to our gun rights that Obama and the Democrats are, they are not nearly as dangerous as those supposedly on "our side" who either don't know how to fight, or worse, don't even get involved. Time and again I cringe when I hear some gun owner fall into the numerous traps set by the anti-gun mafia. Too many gun rights supporters let themselves get dragged into a debate, the terms of which they have allowed to be set by those who are intent on disarming us.
Here in Minnesota, following President Obama’s visit in his “take your guns” tour, hearings have been held on a whole stack of outrageously intrusive gun control bills. Without going into great detail, in addition to the usual bans on “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines, the proposed legislation would also impose everything from “mental health screening” for anyone applying for a concealed carry permit, to annual registration of all guns.
Perhaps the most disturbing element in this attack on gun owners is the proposal to mandate allowing government agents to enter your home to inspect the “safety procedures” you have put in place for storing your firearms. It is no longer just those in the conspiracy theory crowd who are beginning to see the genuine possibility of “jack-booted” thugs banging on our doors.
So, what to do? For starters, if you don’t live close enough to show up in person, make sure that you call, email, and then be sure to FAX your representatives. Emails can be deleted – a FAX lands on their desk. Then do it again, weekly at least, for as long as any legislation is pending.
If legislators in your state bring forth any anti-gun-rights legislative initiatives, and you live close enough, you simply have to show up – at committee hearings, at any forums that are held, and most importantly, at your representative’s office. And folks, if you are going to actually testify at a hearing, would you PLEASE dress for the occasion? Looking like a bum in t-shirt and jeans does nothing but give the press the "money shot" photo they want - "See? This is who those gun nuts are."
But the most important thing is to make sure that your message is simple, unambiguous, and passionate. For example, too many pro-gun-rights supporters make the mistake of getting in a debate about what is or isn’t an “assault weapon” or attempting to justify why they should be “allowed” to own an AR-15. Wrong! As soon as you join the discussion on their terms, you’ve already lost.
Instead, attack their premise: "A mentally deranged lunatic commits an unspeakable act of violence, and instead of doing something that will actually protect people, YOU want to attack the rights of millions of legitimate gun owners WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CRIME!" And use colorful imagery to do it: “Believing that mass shootings will be stopped by limiting the number of bullets in a magazine is as stupid as thinking that drunk-driving deaths will be stopped by limiting the number of ounces in a beer bottle!”
Let those on the fence know how a particular law will affect THEM: “Banning a particular type of firearm or magazine will never save a single human life – it will, however, turn millions of legitimate gun owners into criminals overnight!”
You must learn to change the terms of the debate. Go on offense. Those in the anti-gun crowd invariably couch their arguments for attacking your rights in “save the children” language. Challenge the entire premise. Say simply, “Instead of clinging to your silly ‘gun-free-zone’ signs, allow teachers to carry guns to protect them!”
Then follow it up with: “There is no place in America that has more security than our airports. Yet pilots are armed with guns, and Air Marshals are armed with guns. Why? Because when that one terrorist manages to get through, they know that the only effective defense is someone with a gun. So tell me why we don’t have the same policy in our schools. The answer is simple – you care more about your anti-gun agenda than you do about our children."
And don’t even bring up “my 2nd Amendment rights” – it simply no longer resonates. Focus instead on the natural right of self-defense: “Even if there were no Constitution, I have an inherent right to protect myself and my family, and restricting my ability to legally do so is nothing less than an assault on that right.”
As to the absurd charge that “nobody needs a military-style rifle” once again, do not attempt to justify your desire to own one. “Need is irrelevant, and besides, who the hell are you to decide for anyone else what they need? You could argue that no one ‘needs’ a 650 horsepower Mustang, but as long as they drive it responsibly, I couldn’t care less, and neither should you. As long as gun owners are responsible, it is no one’s business what kind of pistol, rifle, or shotgun they own.”
In other words, show up, stand up, and stay on offense.