Why Strategy & Tactics Matter in Defending the Second Amendment

Lyndon Baines Johnson signing the Gun Control Act of 1968 into law – but he wanted it to include a licensing and registration scheme. (White House photo)

United States of America – -(AmmoLand.com)- Okay, folks, now we get to the next step after we have determined just what our present situation is. Our objective is simple: Securing our Second Amendment rights and a legacy of freedom for future generations. There is just one problem: Michael Bloomberg isn’t going to give up his dreams of disarming law-abiding gun owners without a fight. Dianne Feinstein will not stop pushing for the day she can say, “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in” without fighting to the bitter end, either. Charles Schumer will not stop seeking to “hammer guns” with “relentless legislative strategy” and to deliver what HCI’s Richard Aborn once called the “rest of the camel” that followed the Brady Act on his own accord, either.

So, the question is how do we achieve that objective in the face of a fanatical drive to disarm us? Well, the answer, of course, is to fight back against Bloomberg. But we can’t just point to the Second Amendment and proclaim an end to the discussion. That isn’t going to work. Beating Bloomberg requires strategy and tactics – and all too often, Second Amendment supporters are not thinking tactically or strategically when it comes to protecting our rights.

Now, we’ve discussed the need to know your present situation. If you have a very favorable situation (significant pro-Second Amendment majorities in the legislature, a pro-Second Amendment governor), it may be worth it to push for major pro-Second Amendment legislation in your state. But you must be willing to adjust your tactics and strategy when the circumstances are not that favorable.

As Duane Liptak pointed out last week, history has shown that at times, you can’t stop anti-Second Amendment legislation from passing in some form. That said, smart tactics and strategy mean that you can render that anti-Second Amendment legislation much less intrusive than anti-Second Amendment politicians want. This was done with the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act 1968 (did you know Lyndon Baines Johnson wanted a licensing and registration scheme and denounced the “gun lobby” over not getting it?), and even the Brady Act in 1993.

Other times, you can kill legislation with poison pills. This approach does five things: First, it gives vulnerable pro-Second Amendment lawmakers cover to vote down the ripe-for-abuse versions of legislation proposed by anti-Second Amendment fanatics. Second, arguing over minutiae buys time to passions to fade – the worst forms of anti-Second Amendment legislation get rammed through in the heat of the moment, and sometimes, the debate over minutiae will kill any momentum for anti-Second Amendment legislation. Third, if something does pass, the damage is controlled. Fourth, sometimes, passing poison pills could prompt anti-Second Amendment extremists to just kill the bill. Fifth, sometimes, it gets anti-Second Amendment extremists to give the whole game away – and thus, their “reasonable” measures now are revealed as steps towards a gun ban, not good-faith efforts to address problems.

Guess what? It worked.

Remember what happened in 1999: In the wake of the Columbine shooting, some anti-Second Amendment extremists were seeing it as a chance for major legislation – and some even were looking to bans passed by England and Australia for inspiration. The NRA came up with its own version of gun show background check legislation that cut the delay for a NICS check at a gun show to 24 hours as opposed to the 72 hours that anti-Second Amendment extremists wanted.

There were claims it was a sellout then. However, the 72-hour delay that anti-Second Amendment extremists wanted would have killed gun shows altogether – which was the plan of Schumer and Frank Lautenberg all along. Gun shows are one of the places where Second Amendment supporters can meet other Second Amendment supporters, and learn they are not alone. The NRA’s tactics also got Bill Clinton to famously admit that he supported gun registration in an interview with Charlie Gibson.

When the NRA’s version was what passed the House, anti-Second Amendment extremists provided the bulk of the nay votes, and the bill was voted down. In the two decades since, gun shows have survived. Oh, and the push for gun control cost Al Gore West Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee in the 2000 election. Also, vulnerable pro-Second Amendment lawmakers could say they voted to address the problem, but unreasonable demands from extremists killed the legislation, and many returned to later cast votes that ended the threat of frivolous lawsuits from big-city mayors later on.

On the “red flag” laws, the NRA has been using the same strategy they used to stop Lautenberg’s effort to kill gun shows in 1999, this time by insisting on penalties for false or frivolous accusations and the protection of due process. Again, pro-Second Amendment lawmakers can say they support “red flag” laws, but that the Bloomberg version is unreasonable because it fails to protect due process, doesn’t mandate treatment for mental health issues, and contains no penalties for false accusations.

Another important part of good strategic and tactical thinking is to know when to fight given battles. There is a limited amount of time, so the fights you pick matter. Over the last two years, even as President Trump went forward with a regulatory ban on bump stocks, he has also appointed dozens of pro-Second Amendment judges – judges who have been confirmed to the bench by the Senate with life tenure. This will significantly shift the legal and political terrain on Second Amendment issues.

One other point to consider is that we will also be at the mercy of events, and choices made by anti-Second Amendment extremists. We need only to look at Andrew Cuomo’s decision to embrace the abuse of power against the NRA as one such thing. Events out of our control will force a change in strategy. It is a safe bet that a number of close state and federal races where anti-gun lawmakers won could have gone the other way if the NRA didn’t have to fight a legal battle against Cuomo’s abuses, but to ignore his efforts to blacklist the NRA would have been fatally short-sighted.

The fact is, we face a long road when it comes to ensuring our Second Amendment rights are secure. The push to punish the law-abiding for the horrific misuse of firearms will always be around. But the time and effort spent to secure our freedoms and pass them on to future generations will be spent more effectively with the right strategies and tactics for the circumstances we are in.

Harold Hu, chison

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.

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The comments here give me hope

David Bradford

One of my biggest pet peeves is people who refuse to own up to their own mistakes and make excuses. Diverting blame and excusing your bad behavior because some other force made you do it and you had no choice is just cowardice. Defending the administration of the NRA even after their pushing for constitutionally suicidal RED FLAG legislation for our own good is lunacy. It reminds me of the sheeple of Detriot coming to the defense of Kwame Kilpatrick even after they knew he was a crook just because they like him as a personality. “Yeah, I know he’s… Read more »

The Revelator

Amen. Nuff said

The Revelator

Ok, This is another(#10 since I started reading Harolds pieces) attempt by Harold Hutchison to push for Second Amendment supporters to cave in on violations on firearms rights. “But we can’t just point to the Second Amendment and proclaim an end to the discussion. That isn’t going to work.” Translation, Stop criticizing the NRA for helping to craft gun control legislation because we need to give the Anti’s something they like even if it violates your rights. Harold has a long history of ignoring facts and evidence, claims about the NRA brought to his attention, and moving onto the next… Read more »

Kenneth Clark

Allowing Government to slowly nibble away at our rights.. Giving away rights a little at a time is not winning or stragety..
Attacks on our Constitutional rights is a attempt to disarm and force American’s to follow orders of self appointed rulers..
Never give a inch when it comes to our rights..because a little is never enough but only a beginning..
Gun Controll Works.. For those who control the guns..

The Revelator

Yes, those are indeed accurate pearls of wisdom.

Harold’s articles follow a form letter Format. He changes key words and hits enter, the end result being an article that is generated with different verbiage but the exact same content as his previous article. He is nothing but a propagandist.

Country Boy

Every true 2nd A supporter KNOWS what the ONLY true solution to the anti gun politicians and our corrupt, in the swamp oath breaking government officials is.

Everyone is just too scared to say it. let alone act on it.

Just my 2 cents.

Douglas G

Harold, you comment on countering anti-gun legislation, and countering anti-gun lobbyists and changing the anti-gun message or making anti-gun politicians think differently, etc… What is the common theme? Defense, defense, defense. How about pro-gun groups coordinate a public perception improvement ad campaign? How about pro-gun groups being ready (like the anti-gun lobby), after a shooting, to flood the airwaves on how it could have been worse, how the systems & Laws we have failed or pointing the finger at the offender and how the good guy saved the day? In other words, spend our money and efforts on “Offense” rather… Read more »

The Revelator

@Douglas G We don’t parrot the same message doug because we don’t all believe the same message. “How about pro-gun groups coordinate a public perception improvement ad campaign? ” We will not support any position like Harold’s which states that we have to cede our rights and compromise with the Anti’s. Sorry, We are never going to back that. The GOA was right to take a no compromise stand and is growing. Harold is currently running a public perception campaign and it isn’t doing him or the NRA any good. Harold is not talking about defending a right, he is… Read more »

Douglas G

The quickest way to change the situation today would be for Trump to come out totally against guns. Democrats, as they are, would naturally RESIST and we would have a stronger 2A. LOL

Ken Jones

Lets get this out in the air. Being a retired deputy sheriff I have first hand knowledge of the following; A law enforcement department ‘ being local police, Sheriff Departments, or state police’ is your 1st line of defense against the criminal element. If you were being robbed or assaulted, it might take me 10 to 15 minutes, hauling butt to assist you, and usually I have calls stacked up. The dispatcher has to do triage on my calls and send to the most threatening situations. Sometimes you must hide or put up a defense till I get there. I… Read more »

The Revelator


Thank you, as the Son and Grandson of life long military and Law enforcement, thank you, and thank you again for bringing this truth to the discussion.

Deplorable Bill

How do we arrest a politician for treason? The goal of these people is to disarm the public completely—first. Once that is done then anything goes. The BIBLE is vilified. What has been wrong for the last 5,000 years becomes suddenly right or at least acceptable. Good becomes evil. I was in the military many years ago. I traveled most of the world except for Antarctica, Australia and the far east. ” I have seen socialism, communism, dictators and “evil people of religions of peace”. Life is cheep in places like those places/countries. The public in those countries and areas… Read more »

Mark R

Thank you for an excellent post. I have been asking the same questions for years. What most people fail to understand is that the greater majority of “elected” politicians have been won over to the side of “evil”, either through bribes or threats. It won’t matter who we vote for any longer because someone always gets to them. I have heard that sheriff’s are the ultimate enforcement officers and maybe they are the ones who could arrest the scum in office. What is certain, if arrests are not forthcoming the ONLY way out of this is armed resistance.


average voter votes for the lesser of two evils, is mad when gets evil

Country Boy

Public hangings of corrupt politicians who have broken their oath sounds good to me.


OH MY GOD!!!! IS this for real. The NRA saved us from the 1934 FFA, and the 68 GCA by supporting the 1934 FFA act and 68 GCA. If this is true then I can claim the NRA saved us from the Illinois FOID card law and the NICS, plus many more draconian laws. Now we know why we have been loosing ground on our rights. The gun lobby does not understand the “Negotiating Tactics of a Bolshevik” When you want something in a Negotiation you ask for every crazy thing you can think of hoping the other side, (in… Read more »


Hog wash. “Shall not be infringed” I can read and comprehend. Can you? I don’t expect your pro NRA swill.

Jim Mackey

Yeah but the problem is the people actually writing the laws don’t seem to respect the concept of “shall not be infringed”. Given that you haven’t magically transformed into the 2nd-coming of George Washington, ready to deliver us from tyranny, it appears as though legislative strategies are probably our best bet. Suggest you google the term “realpolitik”.
You can shout “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” to your hearts content but unfortunately nobody in power is listening. Whatever makes you feel better though.


Yeah, OK. How has that “strategy” of letting them incrementally infringe by legislation working out?


Here we go again harold-The government makes felons out of millions of American citizens with the swipe of a pen
And you expect us to look at it objectively??Somehow our president completely blows it ,,nominates this idiot barr /we need somebody that will put Hillary and the other criminals in orange jumpsuits /how can we look at anything objectively anymore?? our voting system is destroyed the FBI is a joke ,NSA spying on us ,I mean come on ,,who’s side are you on?Certainly isn’t the constitutions side


Oldmarine >>> Green Mtn. Boy I agree but there is a problem. The oath of Office is covered in both federal and State law about violation of said Oath . The is part of the Constitution that laws are supposed to be based on. So the only one that can be applied by anyone is the Oath. I have looked up those laws for many States of witch there are an average 3 laws governing the violation of the Oath. I see your point but action against those individuals can suffer law for anywhere from 4 years and Federally from… Read more »

Wild Bill

@GMB, Unfortunately, brother, there is no law against violating one’s oath of office, ergo no charge on which the betrayers can be arrested. Equally unfortunate, violating ones oath of office is not treason or perjury. It is only a betrayal.


Nope. Swearing an oath then not keeping it IS felony perjury. At the least, onc charged and convicted, one can not hold public office any more, nor can they have the very guns they work so hard to deny the rest of us. Losing their paychecks and pensions might convince others to make informed decisioins about their own loyalty to that oath, and the Constititions (federal and state) they solemnly swore to uphold.

Country Boy

Sorry, but many congressman are and have been felons already.

Wild Bill

Sorry Gentlemen, but to be actionable, the oath, affirmation, or statement must include a written warning about perjury. I would like to give them a fair trial and then hang them as much as you would, but a perjury or treason charge is not their.


Oldmarine >>> Wild Bill That’s not true. There are many laws both Federally and State wise against violation of the Oath of Office, Starting with perjury of said Oath. Look it up., Wonder of wonders California has them too but no one uses them, why well I personally think that people are threatened by powers to be. There is also good grounds for civil suits against violators, expensive and slow and needs a true jury of peers to be successful. Criminal charges are the most effective with better intended results. By the way the very first sentence in all the… Read more »

Wild Bill

Untrue testimony or falsely sworn documents relating to a federal court or administrative agency can result in federal perjury charges. The penalty for a federal offense is almost always more severe than the sentence for a similar state law offense.
The federal perjury statute is 18 USC 1621. The elements of perjury are the following:
A false statement.
On a material issue.
Made willfully and with knowledge that it was false.
Under oath (by someone authorized to administer the oath).
Before an authorized tribunal, officer, or person.

Michael Belcher

This is nonsense. We need not be moderating our pro-gun stances, nor our push for such legislation. The left never does this. They control only 1/2 of one branch and they’re advancing the most radical ban bills in history. The problem is that by staying out these radical positions the left is constantly, if slowly, shifting the Overton window in their direction. Politics is downstream from culture, and we need to fight that battle by staking out our own desired positions publicly, and by pushing that window. As it is the left is winning the cultural battle, and that shows… Read more »

Country Boy

And the old guards of the Republican Party will go right along with the dems anti gun legislation. They always do……


Ultimately, only the effective use of the rights supposedly “secured” (Jefferson’s language) by the 2nd Amendment will preserve the 2nd Amendment as well as all the others. The 2nd is the only and ultimate guarantor of all the others. Those who are unwilling to kill and die to preserve their rights and freedoms will inevitably and deservedly lose them. Semper Fi!!


Ultimately we will have to use the 2nd Amendment to defend it. When that happens the gun grabbers will not be a problem for at least another 50 years.

Roy D.

I haven’t went to a gun show in twenty years and only went then to meet Randy Weaver. His oldest daughter was lovely and gracious. Very nice people.

rich z

Has anyone noticed that in states ,under Democratic control , with the highest number of gun control laws ALSO have the HIGHEST NUMBER OF VIOLENT CRIMES, Makes one WONDER……….


No! I do not wonder. It is quite obvious what the Marxists are doing. America’s urban and suburban areas are being or have been ‘De-educated’ purposely to not just want ‘Big Govt’ but to need ‘Big Govts’ money. It makes the the NSN/Govt lies much much easier to swallow.

These areas are the seeds of the destruction of America. As noted by the intense corruption of our youngest populace.
If You Want it Straight by Robert Welch https://archive.org/details/RobertWelchIfYouWantItStraight


Good message there /Nottingham As usual on point


Nottinghill /Sorry my friend ,,its the damn phone

Thomas J

Deleting comments again ammoland?

Green Mtn. Boy

I see that Ammoland has deleted their comment notification function.


@GMB: I noticed its removal at the posting of the story headers, ‘Pro-2A NRA Haters Here is an FYI For You’ and ‘Setting The Record Straight, NRA Haters You’re a Problem’. I’ll say someone did want the post remarks to be known, shown and/or seen.
It was like Lord Palpatine purposely seeking out the deep dark hate and anger against the constant appeasement and lack of leadership backbone from politicians and the NRA.


We are not deleting comments nor do we delete comments. Make sure you adhere to the comment policy https://www.ammoland.com/ammoland-comment-policy/ . Free speech is very much alive here at Ammoland. Ammoland is in the process of upgrading our comment system so we may have a few glitches and delays over the next few days but we will sort it and the end result will be very positive for our readers and commenters. stand by…….


Bpj… In the past, there has been a significant practical delay (anywhere from 2 to 24 hours) between the time the “post comment” button is pressed and the time that the intended comment actually “shows up” on-screen. I learned to simply accept the delay and trust that my post will indeed eventually be displayed… and it always has been. I’ve never found an instance in which my post was deleted… it eventually appears. Other posters (those who are simply too impatient) can, perhaps understandably, jump to the conclusion that editorial censorship has been exercised, but if they merely learn/exercise patience… Read more »

The Revelator

Thank you, and the guys running Ammoland need the support. Anytime you can reassure or educate those who bring up the issue would help greatly.

This site was started by two guys, and largely kept alive by an attitude of protecting free speech and their passion for Firearms rights. The more we as people who make use of it can educate those here who aren’t aware, the better it will be. Thank you from a Fellow user.

The Revelator


Again, thank you.

Jim Macklin

Screaming the word “treason” is not good when the actions are on treason described in the constitutions. Attacking the NRA is easy. The NRA is not the powerful gun lobby we wish or hear it spoken about.
I wish they were as all powerful.

Thomas J

Actually we can just point to the second amendment, thats the whole point, it’s written in simple plain English, no more bullshit, no more compromise

Jim Mackey

How’s that been working out for you? Perhaps our politicians can’t read plain English or don’t care, and the judges too often side with them.

1776 Patriot

Sounds simple. Unfortunately it’s not. We live in a complicated world; evil and deceit will always enjoy the upper hand. It’s been that way since civilization began and will not improve any time soon. Keep your powder dry and join forces with those who also appreciate the privilege of living in our Constitutional Republic even though we may not always agree on strategies and tactics.


So many pro-NRA stories popping up… I guess they’ve shifted from wining & dining their friends & associates on our dues, to paying off people to write positive articles on behalf of the NRA. I’ll make this quick and to the point – you don’t gain a right, by sacrificing another one. Only pansies, snowflakes and the NRA think this is a good tactic. Instead of bargaining a person’s God-given rights away in the United States of America, try digging in and standing firm. I finally have, and I do NOT support any group who is willing to bargain on… Read more »

Green Mtn. Boy


What with the recent brash of please support the NRA,one might come to the idea that the NRAe is worried about the continued filling of their pockets.With yesterdays news of the GOA .

GOA Files for Supreme Court Cert in Case Challenging the National Firearms Act

Of course the surrender monkeys of the NRAe are nowhere to be found on that topic.


Yes! They are worried… and should be very very worried. Our politicians should be worried also.
Between the NRA ,Trump, Sessions, the commies and Mueller. They give Wednesday’s hump-day a whole new meaning to 2A supporters. I’d feel safer with AR500 plates covering my backside. Can you vote a hardened steel plate to the presidency of the NRA or USA? Painted FU frontside. Better and more reliable coverage too.

Martin Hoer

I agree strategy and tactics do make a difference. However the NRA and the rest of the pro freedom lobby need another arrow in their quiver. That arrow? Call these people out on their authoritarianism, call them authoritarians, make them defend that position in public. I have found a 2×4 of a word that shocks people out of their mindset works wonders. Will you convert the Blumbergs, Pelosi’s or other hard core authoritarians – no you will just make them turn red and flustered. However those are not the people we are after, we are after every day Americans and… Read more »

Roy D.

Yes, the power to define words is how you win arguments.

The Revelator

Facts are how you win arguments. Defining words only works if you have the info to back it up and put force behind it.

Take for example Green Watch Dog’s failure arguing about the accuracy of certain polls he likes. He lost that argument because the facts against him tore apart what he was trying to define as “Reputable” at the same time I built the case to explain to people who did not know as to why it is not trustworthy.


The fight is simple. One side wants to wipe out gun ownership and the other wants to expand it. The delaying tactics of capitulation and appeasement still result in a victory for the gun grabbers. Chairman Mao stated in his little red book that time is on their side. They very well might not live to see the end result but the goal marches forward and their children’s children will see victory. Supporting Red Flag Laws, Bump Stock Restrictions, Background Checks, etc is a delaying action. It is a tactical withdrawal from the battle field and the end result is… Read more »


“But we can’t just point to the Second Amendment and proclaim an end to the discussion.” Uhhh… well I guess we could point to the many supporting documents and quotes that point to the second amendment and that it protects from having weapons taken away. But other then that, yes yes we can. Just like we can point to any law that someone breaks and say “you broke this so you broke the law” So when will enough be enough? People like you, like Duane, like that other guy (who can’t source his claims) seem to satisfied with strategically giving… Read more »


Giving away liberties in simple pursuit of security has never worked out wellShit storms coming my brothers and sisters like we’ve never seen on our doorstep before if you’re waiting till now to get prepped you might have waited too long unfortunately most important thing is stay calm make a list check it off as you go don’t tell anyone about your plans or what you have in your preparation scenario Together we stand -divided we fall ,literally

Free Helicopter Rides For Commies

Here’s an idea: arrest public officials for knowingly violating their oath of office and charge them with treason when they submit bills that infringe on 2A. Their twisted rationales for their deeds will not save them. No compromise, no compliance, no surrender. Time for Americans to dump or get off the pot. You know who the domestic enemies of the Constitution and liberty all are. The only reason why this hasn’t been done yet is because people have misplaced their trust in the NRA to stop what the Demonrats & RINOs have been trying to do for the last 100… Read more »


Yea but that guy who died because of red flag laws, which the NRA backs and isn’t even a RKBA issue, will totally be fine now that that there are “poison pill” that will make sure the person who accused him will be held accountable…. oh wait he’s dead. Well if he would have survived being shot by government agents at least if he was as rich as the NRA execs he could have fought the state in a lengthy legal battle that would have incurred a massive debt to try and fight other government agents, provided he’s given the… Read more »


Yes, 2020 is coming and we DO live in interesting times. If Pres. Trump is a one-term POTUS then things will get ‘sporty’ real quick.

Folks, it is time to stock up on shooting supplies NOW while we have a brief reprieve from the Communist onslaught – the Reds won’t quit until they’re shot full of holes.



Green Mtn. Boy

Pile it high and deep.

Green Mtn. Boy

Free Helicopter Rides For Commies

“Here’s an idea: arrest public officials for knowingly violating their oath of office and charge them with treason ”

What a novel idea,oh gee wait that is the current law on the books,which is ignored much the same as Shall Not Be Infringed is.


Oldmarine >>> Free Helicopter Rides For Commies Great comment. I have been preaching this it seems like forever. Go after the individuals that break the existing laws. All of the Anti-2nd Amendment problems originate with Public Servants politicians, Judges, and government officials committing Perjury of their Oath of Office. Nothing will stop these injustice until they are personally held responsible for their crimes against the Constitution and the Law abiding citizenry. When they have to end up in court explaining why they chose to commit breach of contract with the people, then they will feel the weight of the Law.… Read more »