TTAG – Grassroots Gun Rights’ Biggest Fear: Bloomberg

TTAG logoThe Truth About Guns – one of the top firearms websites on the planet recently posted this article regarding the fight to keep American gun rights:

Grassroots Gun Rights’ Biggest Fear: Bloomberg.

In this article they talk about the national and media fight over gun control.  While you cannot ignore the national front, that is not where the real battle is being fought. The Anti-2A people have learned that they cannot win in that arena and have largely conceded it except for the chest beating to fuel their real front and to drain our resources. The real battle is being fought in 2 areas.

1. Local level

Since they cannot win in the big battle, they have shifted to what is essentially trench warfare and attacking targets of opportunity. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the State and local laws passed in the last couple years and see this shift. The local laws are particularly dangerous because that provides a toe-hold in what might otherwise be a fairly pro-gun State or county. If nothing else they get a press release that let’s them tout “reasonable restrictions.”

It doesn’t matter whether the law is constitutional. It doesn’t matter if it will be struct down when challenged. Strategically, the Anti-2A are quite willing to get a law passed that they know will be struck down. They have still gotten the press message out and you can expect the media to be selective about what it reports. The legal challenge will take years and fortunes to litigate.

political-correctness3-300x211In this kind of a war of attrition, Bloomberg is a serious threat. Money is the primary weapon and Bloomberg has both the quantity and willingness to use it. Considering the extent to which public sentiment is on our side, such fights will cost him much more money than it will cost us, but we cannot fail to commit or we will lose the battle, as we saw in Washington state initiative in the 2014 election. The result of this loss is what will be an even more expensive battle to try and get it thrown out with no certainty of victory.

This Washington law shows another aspect of this type of warfare of which we need to be aware. Bloomberg and the like are watching for the next tragedy and stand ready to pounce. They know there is only a narrow window in which they can progress while people are still in an emotional mode of thought.  The emotional argument has failed miserably at the national level because nation reason is sufficient to overcome local grief.  However, they have had much better success at a local level where they can capitalize on that grief.

This window and the fact that Bloomberg has to outspend by orders of magnitude make this a winnable fight for us.  But we can only win if we do fight.  NRA ignoring such battles because it wants to focus on “big things” is a losing strategy.

2. Education

The second front where the real battle is being fought is not exactly new but it is growing in importance.  As with so much of Progressivism, much of the war is fought within the school system.  Certainly, Bloomberg and his money has been very active here, as well.  In my opinion, this is by far the most important front in the entire gun rights battle.  Even if we win every one of the national, state and local fights, if we don’t win here will will ultimately lose the war.

The tactic here is quite simple.  Do anything necessary to equate guns with something bad for the children.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a matter of actual class work, policy or parental interaction, that association of guns with something bad happening is paramount.  This is nothing less than social programming.  The younger this programming occurs, the more ingrained into the child’s worldview it becomes and the more difficult it is subsequently to counter.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a trip to the principal for a pointed finger with a “pew” sound, or a suspension for chewing a Pop Tart into the wrong shape or “Mom and Dad don’t really love you if they keep dangerous guns in the home.”  The message has been delivered by someone the child has been taught to trust.

The most insidious aspect of this strategy is that the Anti-2A wins even when they (commonly) lose.  The typical response when confronted is that the school backs down.  Usually this is after a bit of sabre rattling by the parent, but as soon the district gets the idea that the parents are serious the school abandons it’s position.  The dirty little secret is that the school can doesn’t need to fight and can afford to back away.  They have implanted the “guns are bad” message successfully.  All they need to do to win is build the association.

It won’t happen with my generation.  It probably won’t happen in my son’s.  I do think, however, that we are only two generations away from having enough citizens thinking guns are bad that there is a real possibility of repealing the Second Amendment.  So it’s something that could well happen within the lifetime of almost everyone reading this.

The good news is that this is the easier of the two to counter.  The bad news is that it requires the will to counter.  Stopping this means visibility.  Visibility in opposition to the Anti-2A activist demands demonization.  They really don’t have a choice.  Their position is so weak their only hope of success is to shut you up.

The first and most important thing is to not only make the school back down on their “guns equal bad” message, but that there are negative consequences for taking that position.  Currently, as soon as the district backs off or clears the child’s record, we go home.

That is not enough any more.

Instead, we need to keep up the push until we get public restitution that at the very least includes an admission that they were wrong.  Ideally, we need to work towards getting actual disciplinary action taken against the teacher, school or district.  Even better would be if there were a financial penalty – cost incurred by the parents, if nothing else.  In short, we are using the “bad things will happen” message ourselves.  What matters in this part of the battle is that the message is neutralized.

History and social studies are another important area for efforts.  Take an interest in yourJefferson on guns child’s curriculum.  More important, don’t be afraid to speak up and make waves.  Watch for revisions in history, especially where the philosophies of the Founding Fathers is concerned.  The good news here, is that the push back against Common Core is already providing a momentum for this.  More than anything, I think what matters most here is keeping the momentum going and finishing the fight.

The other part of opposing the education system assault on guns is not only the most effective, but it’s actually quite fun:

Get kids shooting.

On every gun blog, it’s reported that the single best way to convert an “Anti” is to take them to the range and put a gun in their hands.  Why wait until they are adults?  The impact on a child in learning to shoot safely is going to be very hard to undermine.  It is also far, far easier than you can possibly imagine.

The obvious track for this are Jr. High and High School shooting teams.  Even here in Illinois, trap and rifle teams are increasing in popularity.  Look into this.  Offer to coach.  Try to get you gun club or range to support a team.  Participate in fund raisers or volunteer for events.  Once a team is established, look for ways for it to creep downward.  For example, let’s say that the high school has a trap team.  Once it’s established and successful, why not start pushing for a 3 gun team.  Another possibility would be a .22LR  or BB rifle team for the grade or middle schoolers.  Don’t just focus on guns, either.  Does you school have an archery team or have archery in PE?  Let’s support the entirety of shooting sports.

IMG_0105There is also an oft forgotten organisation where shooting sports are a core activity:  Scouting.  Cub and Boy Scouts have been under assault by progressive forces for years, but in spite of some recent National Council wins, they are extremely far from victory.  There is an adage in Scouting that states “All Scouting is local,” and it’s very true.  That’s an op-ed for another time.  The point is that Scouting is one of the best friends gun rights has.

There are still merit badges for the Boy Scouts and belt loops for the Cubbies for shooting.  This isn’t going away anytime soon.  If a Boy Scout has gone to resident camp, it is almost a certainty he learned to shoot a rifle or shotgun.  At age 14, pistol and center fire can be added.  The same is true if a Cub Scout goes to any sort of day or overnight camp event.

Working with Cub Scouts in BB gun shooting has been a primary influence of my thoughts on this subject.  Of first time campers, it seems that perhaps a third have shot before with their parents, another third are just excited to get to learn and the last third are in that “all guns bad” programmed group.  In some cases there is clearly real fear in even touching a BB gun.  This last group is by far my favorite to teach just because of the invariable outcome.

Remember first, that I teach that BB guns real guns, not toys.  The boys are also taught the NRA style 3-rule gun safety rules.  The amount of time that can be spent on technique depends a lot on whether this is a multiple or single day camp.  By the time they actually pick up the gun and go through the motions, there is typically skepticism.  Coach them into exploding a saltine cracker or pinging a soda can and the proverbial light-bulb goes off.  The boy from the Anti-gun family is likely to prove your best and most avid shooter.  More important, the actual experience – especially when repeated each trip to camp – is something that is going to be hard to overcome.

The bottom line is that (local) Scouting still supports and teaches traditional American values – including and exceeding Second Amendment rights – regardless of what the media would lead one to believe.  It’s effectiveness in this regard – again, including guns – is why we’re under such attack by progressives.  While I would not ask you to support the National Council, I would encourage you to support the local troops, packs and districts.

Gun Rights advocacy is in the best position it has seen in decades.  We have made incredible progress against those who would abridge or even eliminate our rights.  However, we cannot ignore the change in the fight against their goals.  Yes, Bloomberg and his money is a threat that cannot be underestimated but it is he not we that face the uphill battle.  I’ve shown where the fight lies.  Now is the time to bring the battle to him.

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