United States of America – -(AmmoLand.com)- We’ve discussed both the need for an honest evaluation of the present political situation of the Second Amendment as well as the need to use the right tactics and strategies for a given job. Now, we will delve a little into the tactical/strategic area some more, this time by looking at a tactic that was advocated a long time ago by an anti-Second Amendment zealot – and how it can be used to regain our rights because it already has worked to do so.
In 1976, Nelson “Pete” Shields, who after his son’s death went to work for what eventually became the Brady Campaign, stated in an interview with the New Yorker, “Right now, though, we'd be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time.”
Thankfully, Shields, who turned to anti-Second Amendment advocacy after his son was murdered, was wrong about his timetable – we are over three decades from the end point of the seven-to-ten-year timeline he estimated it would take to get a handgun ban. 32 years after that interview, the Supreme Court ruled handgun bans unconstitutional in the Heller decision and ruled the Second Amendment was binding on the states in the McDonald case two years after that.
But there is something we can learn from this anti-Second Amendment extremist from long ago:
We can see how the other side has been far more effective in a tactical and strategic sense than many Second Amendment supporters who have been highly critical of NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre [read my History of the NRA Executive Vice President]. What many of them may not want you to know is that under LaPierre’s tenure as Executive Director of NRA-ILA and NRA Executive Vice President, which ran from 1986 to the present, has seen significant gains for our Second Amendment rights.
One of the most conspicuous has been the expansion of concealed carry. In 1986, only nine states had either shall-issue or constitutional carry. By 2017, that number reached 42. This happened over thirty years – and the changes were done slowly. While we are still far from constitutional carry in all 50 states, it is just undeniable that the landscape has changed in favor of the Second Amendment on this issue.
But it didn’t go from “no issue” to “constitutional carry” overnight. It was a long process.
Often the biggest hurdle was getting to a “shall issue” permit system with training requirements. Even then, bit by bit, the NRA worked to lower the requirements, lengthen the time the permits were good, and to reduce the application fees.
The lesson from this is that tactics and strategy are tools, much like firearms. Just because those who seek to take our constitutional rights away use these tactics doesn’t mean the tactics themselves are wrong or should not be used. Furthermore, long-term thinking is something that needs to be adopted.
When dealing with legislation like “red flag” laws, this approach may be a chance to start chipping away at them. Working to add due process and penalties for false accusations would be a start, especially after tragedies surrounding those laws like the one in Maryland. Those laws can be further weakened by narrowing the scope of who can seek them. It should also provide a requirement that firearms be returned once someone is deemed to no longer be a threat.
It will take time, it will not be easy, and the anti-Second Amendment extremists will fight it all the way. That said, “no compromise” should be the phrase we use when it comes to our ultimate objective of restoring our Second Amendment rights. As for the tactics and strategies used to reach that objective… well, if all we can get today is a slice or two of our liberties back, let’s view that as the first steps on the journey.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.