Fayetteville, AR – -(AmmoLand.com)- The NRA has decided to stop production of new content on NRATV, and while shows prior episodes will supposedly remain available, the link, www.nratv.com/series, only leads to the NRA’s main page. This is the outgrowth of fights within the NRA and between that organization and Ackerman McQueen, an advertising agency that ran the NRA’s channel.
I have from time to time I have had words to say about what is going on with the NRA, and I am not alone in noticing. When one of the hosts, Dana Loesch, aims at the children’s television program, Thomas & Friends, for including a train from Kenya—how can there be diversity among trains that have no ethnicities, she asks—things have strayed a bit off the topic of promoting gun rights.
Now I am understanding of efforts to tie the Second Amendment together with other subjects, since gun ownership is not the only thing that we gun owners do, and exercising gun rights does invite a comprehensive mindset of independence of thought and suspicion of people who would call themselves our betters. It is true that not every gun owner sees things in this manner, but it is a way of thinking that once adopted tends to spill over into other areas of life beyond our personal armories. But anyone who’s read my articles will not be surprised to see me write here that attacks on a kid’s show for its effort at diversity is counterproductive to what should be the primary purpose of something like NRATV, namely bringing in new supporters of gun rights.
The way forward ought to be obvious. For one thing, if videos on YouTube are any guide, producing reasonably professional content is not so expensive. Certainly not the millions that NRA was spending with Ack-Mac.
And while that particular site has had a tense relationship with channels that talk favorably about guns, Full30.com exists among others as an alternative. And YouTube still has good programming in support of the Second Amendment, through promoting the selling of relevant products or showing viewers how to make their own is out of bounds, according to the community guidelines, as vague as they can be. But if we want to reach people who are not traditional gun owners, we have to go where they are.
More than that—and on the theory that a broken record is right in at least two articles, or some such saying—as I’ve said before, we need to be doing the opposite of attacking diversity, whether in trains or human categories. We need people across the political, sexual, and gender spectra. We need people without regard to who their ancestors are. We need young people. And we’re not going to gain supporters of gun rights across the demographics if we maintain the attitude that gun ownership is for white men who also buy collectible coins and a particular set of herbal supplements—the impression I get by reading the advertising in gun magazines.
I see comments here and elsewhere that imply when they don’t state explicitly, that we don’t need liberals, gays, Arabs, and the like in the gun community. Given the political and demographic realities of America, I can’t imagine believing that we can afford to write off any group. And I don’t accept the hopelessness found in claims that we can’t win over new people to solid support of gun rights. If NRATV is to be replaced—and it needs to be—a new inclusive vision is a way to go.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.