Read This – Your Rights Are At Stake

By Jeff Knox : Opinion

I am the Gun Lobby
Read This – Your Rights Are At Stake
Firearms Coalition
Firearms Coalition

Buckeye, AZ –-(  I’ll warn readers at the outset: this column falls pretty squarely under the heading of “preaching to the choir.

Nonetheless, it is a sermon that the choir needs to hear, because right now, too many of our folks don’t know the lyrics, and may not even be humming the right tune.

Our crowd-sourced, often leaderless advocacy faces two dangers.

First, is the assumption that while anti-gunners rely on emotions and feelings for their arguments, gun rights advocates – pro-rights advocates, as friend Alan Korwin likes to put it – operate on cold logic and historic truth. The second, is that in our advocacy, whether in letters, op-ed pieces, or online discussions, we attempt to sway the wrong audience.

We all “know” that supporters of gun restrictions operate on emotions and “gut feelings” over facts. But the fact is, many supporters of the Second Amendment and individual rights are also operating on “gut feelings.” Too many of our most ardent advocates on social media, in article comments, internet forums, and letters to the editor, etc., just repeat bumper-sticker slogans, or devolve into personal attacks.

Those are habits that need to change, and the only way it will change is if you change it.

Those of us who follow politics, study issues, and read political commentary like this article, are the exception, not the rule. We are odd ducks in this world of selfies and pop-culture, but even among this small subset, factual information is often woefully lacking. Our guys – and let’s face it, most of us are guys – often grasp the basics, but they frequently can’t explain what they know in their heart of hearts to be true without falling back to arguments like: “Because the Second Amendment says so.”

Although we know that the arguments don’t matter to the radical gun control extremists, a solid understanding of basic principles, and practical arguments, can make a big difference when dealing with people who are basically ambivalent to our issue, or more importantly, those who basically support our position, but don’t understand why we oppose laws that seem pretty innocuous to them. This includes many gun owners, and these are the people that we must educate and bring over solidly to a position of knowledge and strength. We’re not going to accomplish that by quoting the Second Amendment.

That’s why we provide these columns every week, and why we try to go beyond the “rah-rah” rallying cries that are all too common in the gun press and “conservative” media. Our mission is to report on current events and explain how they impact you, why it matters, and what you can do about them. We want to be your reliable source of useful information on gun issues, but more than that, we need you to be able to use our information to educate your friends and family.

If you don’t understand that background checks on gun buyers waste hundreds of millions of dollars every year investigating innocent, law-abiding citizens, and divert those precious resources away from programs that focus on criminals, and have a real impact on violent crime, you are never going to convince people not to vote for expanding background checks to private transfers. You must understand that states with no training requirement, and low fees for acquiring a carry license, have no higher rate of licensed carriers doing stupid or criminal things with guns than do states that require extensive training and charge high fees.

You must be versed in the practical arguments of the issues, or you won’t be able to make a cogent case for firearms freedom – in opposition to new restrictions, and in favor of liberalizing existing laws – and that case must be made, and won.

Voting, Voters
Just because you support gun owner rights and try to vote for pro-rights politicians, doesn’t mean that your support is effective.

Just because you support gun owner rights and try to vote for pro-rights politicians, doesn’t mean that your support is effective. You have influence – probably more than you realize – and that influence can be positive or negative. We – your fellow gun owners – need you to exercise your influence whenever and wherever you can, and we need to be sure that the influence you are exercising is positive for the cause of liberty. To do that, you have to have reliable knowledge and understanding. That’s what we try very hard to provide, and we need you to use the information we provide to improve your talking points, and educate those around you. Silly declarations about “cold, dead hands,” might elicit a cheer from the choir, but they do absolutely nothing to broaden support.

Look closely at the gun magazines, gun blogs, and gun-oriented YouTube channels that you like. Notice how little attention most of them give to educating their audiences about the issues affecting your rights. Sure, they will make expressions of support, but are they actually providing useful information, or are they just cheer-leading and/or trying to raise money for an organization?

Too often we see really poor arguments, or obviously erroneous information put forward on forums, in comments, and on question and answer sites like That needs to change, and only you can change it. First, demand better from yourselves. Read, study, learn, and be a reliable resource to the people who fall within your sphere of influence. Second, demand better from your favorite publications and media outlets. Thank outlets like AmmoLand News, Guns Magazine, and Firearms News for providing useful rights information, and challenge those sites and magazines that give short shrift to rights issues. Finally, share this article, and others that get more into the details of specific rights issues and arguments, save them on your phone or computer so you can easily reference them when needed, and urge your friends to actually read them and share them in social media.

Writers and advocates have limited reach and influence. You can expand that reach and influence, and by doing so, you can help change the culture and re-frame the debate.

You are the gun lobby. Be well-armed for the fight, and always be recruiting.

Neal Knox - The Gun Rights War
Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona and Manassas, VA. Visit:

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It would be nice if someone put together an app that had gun stats,talking points, and other useful information to use in talking with people who are anti gun or uninformed on the issues. A one stop location with searchable info would make it much easier to back up our argument with stats from a verifiable source.


@Repo and Ammoland:
It would also be VERY helpful if we could EASILY print out hard copies of these fine posts on our computers printers. How about a print button? There are many facts and figures that one should get straight when discussing rights issues. My capacity for remembering all those facts is not the best. I for one, would appreciate the option.


@ whodaty, if you are using a windows computer ctrl p on your keyboard, pushed at the same time, is your print button

David Gregory

Thanks for another great article in Ammoland News by Jeff Knox. The “oh so reasonable expanded background checks” is a perniciously underhanded deceitful trick but typical of the anti-Second Amendment crowd, mostly a wing of the Democrat party. Far too many otherwise intelligent people (some gun owners) are hoodwinked on this particular issue. Unfortunately, that is but one among many of their deceptive repertoires. Definitely noticed the sidebar about “The Gun Rights War” by Neal Knox… Is this a compilation of your father’s writings and letters put together by your brother? When was this done and how complete, I mean… Read more »

J.B. Smith

I begin my discussions with “This is a civil rights issue. The current laws and proposals amount to harassment and discrimination against gun owners.” It is just as important to fight these as it was the bus boycotts and the lunch counter sit ins during the classic civil rights confrontations in the 1960s. There is no reason why any American citizen should surrender one millimeter of liberty to pander to the paranoid busybodies that support gun control. The strategy here is to prompt bystanders to think “Do I want to be associated with people on the wrong side of traditional… Read more »


WTF, you put my post under moderation then removed it. I said nothing that would insult anyone or did not use any foul language. What I said was factual and true with full agreement to what Jeff Knox wrote.
Don’t try to tell me it is an overload situation.


I agree, involvement is the key along with exercising your voting rights. The time has passed for people to disregard, or can’t find the time to register and vote. In some states voter registration is used to pick jurists and people try to stay away from that so they don’t register to vote. I think drivers license registration should be the place to pick jurors but that is getting off the subject. When you vote, know who you are voting for. The NRA publishes a state by state list of these people. Sometimes a rat will pull the wool over… Read more »

Barry Hirsh

I agree, but for one point. The “ambivalent” folks need to understand that the Constitution is a dictator – to the government. There can be absolutely no wiggle room permitted for progressives to operate. They must be held to constitutional limits, period, whether the issue is guns or anything else. For example, the commerce clause delegates the authority for the government to regulate commercial activities. There is no constitutional delegation of authority to regulate private transactions other than just police powers to enforce laws against trafficking in illegal products, and per the 10th Amendment, most of that power is reserved… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Doszap Hirsh, I agree with you, but for one point: There an awful lot of local governments and lower courts that are not following the Constitution, intentionally and getting away with it!

Barry Hirsh

Bill, my comments were directed at all levels of government, and at the people who elect them.

The Constitution must be obeyed by all, and not the people, the GOVERNMENTS. The Constitution regulates the government, not the people, and most of the people have forgotten that fact, if they ever knew it at all. The Constitution is the people’s whip to keep the government in line, and they need to know that they’d better start using it as such.


Exactly, exactly, exactly……..great article. Folks do the research, it is a travesty that the states, municipalities, townships, county’s, that subvert Federal law, the greatest of these being our Constitution are allowed to abuse our rights. We need to get educated concerning our own fight, and our own battle plans. Constitutional classes are popping up all over our country, take one. last year I decided I had all the firearms, training and tacticool one old man (60), would ever use. I have since been using my resources to gain more knowledge of my state laws, federal laws, and studying the opinions… Read more »

James A. "Jim" Farmer

Again, I realize I myself may be preaching to the choir. But please bear in mind The John Birch Society in
Appleton, Wisconsin at and, respectively. Also, JPFO, Inc. at www. JPFO, Inc. is “America’s Aggressive Civil Rights Organization.” Even the Constitution Party of Oregon
at offers solid pro-gun/Second Amendment resources. All three of these
institutions are non NRA affiliated. And if it helps I likewise endorse Charolette Iserbyt’s online video: “The Deliberate
Dumbing Down Of America”, and Chris Bower’s “Grinding Down America.”

James A. “Jim” Farmer
Merrill, Oregon (Klamath County)

Wild Bill

@MM1(SS) Knox, Brother you write, ” We – your fellow gun owners – need you to exercise your influence whenever and wherever you can,.. ” We already send letters and emails to our Congressional employees; we belong to and contribute to multiple national Second Amendment Civil Rights (hereinafter SACR) groups (and demand more of them than they are doing now); our dollars go to SACR businesses and we boycott all nonSACR businesses; locally we belong to the local gun club that has “Youth Day at the Range” teaching shooting safety to the youth and parent, four times per year, support… Read more »

Jeff Knox

Wild Bill, Thank you for your service. Just like at church — or any other group — some do more and better work than others, and the folks normally reading my columns are among the very best. That said, you can’t read a gun forum or comments on an anti-rights editorial without finding — usually several — guys who clearly have no understanding of what they believe and would espouse. And unfortunately, you can open top-tier firearm publications and other gun-related media that have not a word about rights included. I’m asking you to keep doing what you’re doing, and… Read more »

Calvin Blumhorst

Amen, brothers… and sisters (thankfully, more and more women are realizing the logic and reasons for being responsible for one’s own safety and well-being). I would also add that far too many times I see 2nd Amendment supporters using ad hominem and invective, which are even more sefl-defeating and cringe worthy than bumper sticker rhetoric. It’s difficult to get into their mindset but to be effective at changing the minds AND HEARTS of those who would have us rely upon the good will of attackers for our lives and well-being, we must first “listen” to determine how they are going… Read more »


Here is some cold logic and historic truth about most lawmakers if they do not come from a country that raises its children with the “ethic” of freedom and justice (e.g. god king country only – or anything else it can “tell” you to believe)… BANNING the driver-less car(road vehicle) is required because it is COMPLETELY UNETHICAL. In Australia, There is an object considered to be a weapon by security experts every piece as effective as a firearm ! When a person is struck down by a road vehicle, there is a special formal process of “automatically” charging the driver… Read more »

VE Veteran - Old Man's Club

I’ve been on the front lines of this fight since 1996. I do belong to GOA and have belonged to other groups. I like GOA because they are the only NON Compromise pro gun organization. Its through compromising that we find ourselves in the position we are now in – very precarious. The line has been drawn in the sand, its time to fight and fight back hard – fence sitting won’t preserve your rights – GET INVOLVED!