As the debate for firearms freedoms gathers steam, the comments of some gun owners on social media sites is bewildering.
Canada – -(Ammoland.com)- Freedom is an emotional issue that invites anger, bravado and frustration.
All those emotions are planted daily into the nation's firearms forums and blogs. Meanwhile, anti-gun advocates need only sit quietly and enjoy the show as firearms owners feast on their own.
Exchanging ideas on forums is a good thing, but publicly ripping fellow gun owners to shreds demeans the integrity of our goals. To the latter group we implore: Just. Stop. Typing.
It should be obvious by now that the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) board of directors rarely engages in public debates through social media. We do have a few hardy souls who help to keep the CSSA record straight in blogs and forums, and we are grateful to them for injecting some sanity into the discussion. But, publicly unfolding an organization's strategic planning usually backfires, so we don't do it.
Does your company willingly hand over its business plan to its competitors?
The anonymous nature of forums provides an ironic battleground that can create enemies among those who share the same goals. Witness all the sniping among unnamed gun owners in blogs. Insulting personal attacks do not beget useful policy, but it does provide much late-night entertainment for the anti-gun crowd (trolls). No doubt they sleep very well after delighting in the inner turmoil of irate gun owners.
Internal debate can help define the message, but some forum threads escalate until common sense goes missing. By way of example, some bloggers have suggested that the CSSA is perfectly fine with maintaining the crippling legislation contained in bills C-17 and C-68. With this, the mind reels. Countless media interviews, parliamentary testimonies and position papers over many years show that CSSA is a pioneer in seeking an end to all legislative shackles that torment gun owners. Maybe the wonky rants are coming from over-zealous firearms newbies or anti-gun trolls. Unfortunately, both factions lob grenades into the social media debate that spawns predictable back-biting carnage.
Here's the thing: Bloggers can stop asking the CSSA board to take part in social media debates. It doesn't serve our end game and we won't take our eye off the big prize. Rolling back gun control laws means focusing on the small group of elected Canadians who have the juice to effect change. Our debate is taking place in the political inner circle. Regardless of all the white noise on current gun forums, the real action is inside that circle.
Would any gun owner seriously suggest we abandon that approach?
There are only two ways to effect real political change: 1) rebel and try to take over the government, or 2) negotiate with those who already run the place. Any other option is more about attempting public relations rather than government relations. Throwing eggs at the doors of Parliament and threatening to cease supporting the government 20 months before an election is a waste of time, energy and membership dues. Everyone has a voice, but it requires some finesse to find ears willing to listen. At the same time. gun owners do themselves a favour by politely writing to their M.P.s for a return to legislative fairness that is in everyone's best interest.
The CSSA approach is frustrating some gun owners and we know that. Our representatives who function within government circles have been called “toadies” who are accused of drinking the government's gun control kool-aid. We make no apologies for searching for a solution that works for both gun owners and the government. It is the only outcome that can work. If this approach isn't effective in a year from now, there will be plenty of time to cast aspersions toward a government that failed us. That Plan B is a last resort.
Unfortunately, some gun owners have already embraced Plan B. Condemning the current government 20 months out from the federal election is handing the keys to a Liberal party poised to rid Canada of all privately-owned firearms.
And that's no plan at all.
The CSSA is the voice of the sport shooter and firearms enthusiast in Canada. Our national membership supports and promotes Canada's firearms heritage, traditional target shooting competition, modern action shooting sports, hunting, and archery. We support and sponsor competitions and youth programs that promote these Canadian heritage activities. Website www.cdnshootingsports.org