California/New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- California and New York are two of the largest states in the country, and until about two decades ago, had been if not Second Amendment friendly (with the exception of New York City in the latter), they were not outright hostile to the right to keep and bear arms. Today, they are so far gone that the former requires a background check to buy ammo, and the latter state’s governor is abusing his power to attack the NRA.
So, how did things get so bad? One big reason is that Second Amendment supporters lost the suburbs, and did so through strategic incompetence, including the failure to keep in mind how they came across. I have discussed this before – on many occasions, but the lesson needs to get through, and for a very simple reason: The media climate is very hostile to the Second Amendment, and as such, they will highlight the worst exemplars relating to the right to keep and bear arms.
This is why fighting smart is arguably more important than fighting hard. Simply put, we have far too many cases where bad advocacy for our Second Amendment rights ended up doing far more to harm the cause than to help it. Look at the saga surrounding Ask Amy, where an advice columnist advised her 22 million readers to put hatred of the Second Amendment over loving their children: Some well-meaning people allowed their (understandable) anger to overcome self-control and spouted off in responses. Worse, some weapons-grade idiots sent threats. In both cases, this bad advocacy not only enabled “Ask Amy” to double down on Second Amendment hatred, those who made the threats became fodder to argue for more infringements on our rights.
Of course, by pointing out the counter-productivity of what can charitably be described as poorly thought out Second Amendment advocacy, it draws the usual derisive comments of “Fudd” or worse. Not only is that untrue, but it doesn't win friends, and if anything, makes the job of effective Second Amendment advocates that much harder.
Put it this way, folks, have any of Beto O'Rourke's rants since the mass shooting in El Paso convinced you to change your mind on our God-given rights? If that hasn't worked for a media favorite like Beto, then what makes anyone think it will work to advance our cause, which the media is hostile to? While the anger at the injustice that Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, and Michael Bloomberg seek to inflict – the unwarranted deprivation of our God-given Second Amendment rights for horrific crimes we did not commit – is very understandable, if not channeled properly, it becomes a liability, not an asset, to efforts to defend the Second Amendment.
Second Amendment supporters need to ask themselves this question: Who does more damage to the Second Amendment, the person calmly thinking about how to best approach a given situation, be it a conversation with a fellow American, how to defeat upcoming anti-Second Amendment legislation, or how to help a Second Amendment support win (or retain) elective office, or the person who spouts off and threatens “revolution” if “they come for our guns” and denounces anyone who doesn’t dot every I and cross every T as a traitor?
In New York and California, we have seen the combination of media bias and poorly planned Second Amendment advocacy exacerbate a bad situation. This bad situation came about for many reasons. One was a failure to understand the fact that the other side played a very successful long game predicated on brainwashing Americans against Second Amendment rights. Far too often, we had tactical successes, and we have seen success over the years in moving the courts our way, but we forgot that we also had to build a pro-Second Amendment culture in this country. As a result, Second Amendment supporters face a social stigmatization that is intended to make them not defend their rights.
However, while things in those states are very bad, there is a chance to turn it around. Court rulings like the Duncan decision in California can help shift the landscape and give us a chance to explain the facts to our fellow Americans. In fact, over the short term, those may be the best chance to improve the lot of those who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights in those states.
But over the medium and long term, turning those states around is going to require a lot of hard work. The gains won in a courtroom could very well be reversed by a packed court if Second Amendment supporters do not take the right approach and have pro-Second Amendment solutions to address the concerns of their fellow Americans after the court decisions.
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.